WORLD No1 Novak Djokovic admitted he had to play his best possible tennis to inflict Rafael Nadal’s first Monte Carlo Masters defeat in nine years.
The Serb, whose appearance in the tournament this week was in doubt following an ankle injury, triumphed 6-2 7-6.
Such is Nadal’s dominance on the Monaco clay the Spaniard had won 46 consecutive matches and consequently the tournament eight years in a row.
And Djokovic acknowledged it needed something special to finally dethrone the king of clay.
“I had the right intensity on the court and the right kind of focus,” he said. “It’s the best that I can play on clay. It’s the only way you can win against Rafa.”
Nadal has recently slipped to fifth in the world rankings, but played down the importance of losing his seemingly unbeatable touch in Monte Carlo ahead of this week’s Barcelona Open.
“It is not a tragedy,” he said. “I think it was a positive week.”