Djokovic prepares to strike a blow at Monte Carlo

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MONACO (AP) - Novak Djokovic’s bid to become French Open champion starts at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he will attempt to end Rafael Nadal’s long dominance on clay.

Nadal has won at Monte Carlo since 2005, and gone on to win the French Open every year except in 2009.

But the six-time French Open champion has lost in seven straight finals to Djokovic, including the last three Grand Slam finals. Djokovic also handed Nadal his only two losses on clay last year, in the Madrid and Rome Masters.

Victory in Monte Carlo would be even sweeter for Djokovic, given that Nadal has won 37 consecutive matches there and holds a 39-1 record.

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