Juan Pico Monaco Revels on Rafa Nadal


Juan Monaco : his revelations on Rafael Nadal

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Argentine player is one of Rafael Nadal’s best friends on tour. He has given us a number of revelations about the world number one in professional tennis.

Nadal and Juan Monaco, a rare friendship on tour in the Barcelona tennis club. The sky is grey just like Juan Monaco’s mood; eliminated straight away by an average Italian qualifier. “Pico” has started the European clay season badly. As foreseen, being a good pro, on the agreed time, he’s ready to talk to us about tennis but also about football, his other passion and one he shares with his good friend Rafael Nadal.

Q : Juan, we left you last September in Montpellier after the defeat in Davis Cup against France. How do you look back on this encounter in hindsight?
JM: We played against a great time and there’s no shame in losing against them. We played against two great singles players and a very complete doubles team. Nevertheless, we did prepare well during 10 days but things didn’t turn in our favour. I figured that a victory against Llodra was feasible because we counted on two wins against him. I played at a very good level but on that particular day, he was playing on a cloud. I think that the fast surface was also favourable for the French.

Q : How do yo view Davis Cup 2011 ?
JM: Our team is excellent and we can count on the return of Del Potro, whom we had to miss last year. We have a solid foundation with a great doubles team (Schwank-Zeballos) and of course, David (Nalbandian), our leader who is always available for us in Davis Cup. I will try to raise my game to be part of the team, because to win Davis Cup, we will need to be at our best.

Q: The end of the year was excellent for you with an Asian tour where you reached the semi-final of the Masters 1000 of Shanghai against Murray. Did the training sessions with Rafa give you wings?
JM: Yes, of course, but he didn’t complain either (laughs)! I’m very lucky to be able to count him as my friend on tour. We’ve spent many weeks together on the Asian tour to train and it was an incredible experience. It enabled me to have a lot of rhythm in my game but Rafa on the other hand did not have the expected results; maybe that’s my fault! (laughs)

Q : With Rafa, you share a passion for football. It appears that you support the Estudiantes La Plata ?
JM: I do, since the age of 11 years. I went to see a match again Newell’s with my dad and right away, I fell in love with that team, their supporters, the incredible atmosphere in the stadium. Look, I even had the team emblem tattooed on my ankle.

Q : How do you manage to combine your love for football with your job as a tennis player who travels the world to go to tournaments?
JM: For me, it’s very important because I’m an emotional player. It’s difficult to explain: I’m a fan of the Estudiantes and when they win, I’m in a better mood, I’m happy to be on court and it makes me play better tennis. I’m like that guy who goes to work each morning and when his favourite team lost the day before, he’ll be sad.

Q: How did you experience the victory of the Estudiantes in the Copa Libertadores final in 2009?
JM: I will never forget it. I was in Sweden for the Bastad tournament. I followed the match on Internet and I was forced to get up at 4 a.m. because of the time difference! When the match was over, I went crazy, I left the hotel and started running in every direction, I wanted to cry out my joy and then, I realised that I was the only one behaving like a fool! Well, this calmed me down quite quickly but you see, when you mention the victories of the Estudiantes, it puts me in a good mood so when it was time to play tennis, I played well and I beat Verdasco and Robredo before losing in the final against Söderling.

Q : Yes, in general, I think that we’re quite similar. For me, it’s PSG but we don’t often win (laughs). But more seriously, what does Rafa think of this with him being a fan of Real Madrid?
JM: Ah, but Rafa, he’s a fan of the Estudiantes! I swear, 100% sure! We often watch matches together on the computer when we’re on tour. Let me give you an example : when I’m in Argentina, Rafa sends me text messages each time there’s a match with the Estudiantes on tv. In Argentina, they say that he’s a Boca fan but that’s totally wrong! He’s a real “hincha” of the Estudiantes and everyone who doubts that can ask me about it!

Q : And Roger Federer, does he support the Estudiantes ?
JM: Ah well, I have no idea! (laughs). But he’s welcome to become a fan of the Estudiantes of course! Anyway, I'm telling you that everybody in Plata knows that Rafa is one of our ours! I hope to be able to invite him to our new stadium the next time he comes to Argentina.

Q : And what can we wish for you on a tennis level for the year 2011 ?
JM: I would love to go far in Roland Garros but, well, if you have to face Rafa in the first round…(laughs). To win a tournament, you have the be realistic but the hope is always alive. On a team scale, just like in football, I’d love to win the Davis Cup with my friends because that’s something that will always be part of Argentine tennis.

Source: French site Amerique24.com

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