Novak Djokovic cracked a forehand winner and the King of Clay no longer reigned in Monte Carlo. After eight straight titles and a streak of 46 matches, Rafael Nadal finally lost a match at the Rolex Masters for the first time since 2003 when he went down Sunday to the world No. 1, falling 6-2, 7-6.
"It's sport, it's not a tragedy," Nadal said afterward, smiling. "I was playing the No. 1 player in the world. I lost after eight years without losing here. That's the more normal thing that can happen, I think."
A year ago, Djokovic, in an emotional state because of the death of the grandfather he idolized, lost to Nadal in the final 6-3, 6-1. As he looked to the heavens today, there was no need to ask to whom he was dedicating this victory.
And there were other reasons for his joy, too. "I live here, I spend a lot of time at this club," he said. "For me it is the most beautiful club in the world. I love the view, I love the people. I cannot be happier than I am at this moment."