Monte Carlo Masters: Rafael Nadal ‘fit and ready’ to defend title after returning to ATP Tour after injury
Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal said on Sunday that he is fit and ready to defend his Monte Carlo Masters title and the number-one ranking this week, as he returns to the ATP Tour after injury.
The 31-year-old made his comeback from a hip injury with two wins in Spain's Davis Cup quarter-final victory over Germany last weekend, having not played previously since January's Australian Open.
Nadal was forced to retire from his last-eight clash with Marin Cilic in Melbourne, but recently usurped Roger Federer at the top of the world rankings after his great rival's early exit in Miami.
"I feel that I'm playing well. I had some good days of practice here, playing some good sets," Nadal said ahead of the start of the claycourt season.
"That helps me. I love this event. I always feel comfortable here.
"I'm enjoying being here in Monte Carlo in an event that always brings me to the best feelings possible.
"It's hopefully going to be my first event of the year that I can finish. And I'm excited about that."
The 16-time Grand Slam champion is bidding for an incredible 11th title in Monaco and his third in a row, but knows that anything less than that would see him lose the number-one spot to the absent Federer.
Nadal had been due to return at Acapulco in February, but was forced to withdraw before his opening match and admitted that it was tough to miss the American hardcourt season.