World No.1 Rafael Nadal may have swept through the Monte Carlo draw, dispatching all opponents in straight sets.
The Spaniard is though, wary and respectful of potential rivals as he looks to win yet again in Barcelona this week.
Former World No.1 and twelve time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic was acknowledged, though Nadal also pinpointed some other strong players.
“But you mentioned two great players. Of course, [Kei] Nishikori is another great player. Dimitrov, number five of the world. I don’t know, [Alexander] Zverev number four. Of course, when you play against the best players of the world, you can lose.”
“At the end of the day you can lose every day. But, of course, the best players have better chances.”
Interestingly, some players with clay pedigree were not mentioned. Dominic Thiem has had a fantastic run on clay in the last few years, including reaching the Roland Garros semi-finals. David Goffin beat Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, a loss that led to Nadal withdrawing from the rest of the tournament.
Nadal defeated both Nishikori and Dimitrov for the loss of just five games against each en route to winning his eleventh title in Monte Carlo.
Nadal enjoys a first round bye as the top seed in Barcelona. He awaits the winner of the match between Andreas Haider-Maurer and Roberto Carballes Baena. Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, and Feliciano Lopez are all in Nadal’s section of the draw.