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Rafael Nadal shows he's a star molded from clay

Novak Djokovic was also in action at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters. Nadal eased to a victory and Djokovic toughed one out against Croatia's Borna Coric.

YANN COATSALIOUYANN COATSALIOU/AFP/Getty Images

Nadal talks about his Monte Carlo Masters 'love story.'

World number one Rafael Nadal aims for a record 11th title success at Monte Carlo Masters as he prepares to defend the title.  

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Djokovic beats Borna Coric in straight sets.

Novak Djokovic advanced to the last 16 of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, following a straight-sets win over Borna Coric on Wednesday.

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Top Headlines

Johnson wins

Johnson earns rare clay-court back-to-back win

Steve Johnson beat first-time ATP Tour finalist Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-4 on Sunday to become the first player to defend the U.S. Men's Clay Court title in 16 years.

Johnson defends U.S. clay-court title.

Steve Johnson became the first player to defend the U.S. Men's Clay Court title in 16 years after defeating Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-4.

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WTA clay preview

Serena, Sloane, someone else? Who is going to rule the WTA this clay season?

It's a question without a good answer, but we have to ask it anyway: Which WTA player is going to rise up above everyone else on the dirt?

Why clay might be Serena Williams' best chance to get back on track

We don't know what Serena Williams' immediate plans are, but the best thing she can do is return right now for the long clay-season haul.

Serena Williams' slithering fear

Serena Williams has somehow overcome a crippling fear of being bit by a snake in the dark of night to win 23 Grand Slam titles.

Tennis

This public tennis court in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Houston, damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year, will get a facelift thanks to a gift from the U.S. Men's Clay Court championship organization that has been supplemented with donations by several top pros. John Isner, Francis Tiafoe and the Bryan brothers hit with local kids in the National Junior Tennis and Learning program Tuesday on the cracked, pitted surface — already in disrepair before the storm — and saw where their efforts will go.

Bonnie D. Ford, ESPN Senior Writer9d ago

Rafa's back and better

In case you were wondering, Rafael Nadal is still the master of clay

Should we give Rafa the French Open trophy now? All it took was one Davis Cup weekend to remind us that Rafael Nadal is far and away the best player on clay.

State of U.S. tennis

U.S., Croatia, Spain, France to Davis Cup semis

The United States will take on Croatia in its first Davis Cup semifinals since 2012, with Spain matching up against France on the other side of the bracket.

Finally, an optimistic forecast for American tennis in 2018

The season could not have started off any worse for the Americans, but something clicked at the Miami Open, and suddenly the red, white and blue are shining bright.

A winner's trophy, a slice of pizza and a day to remember for Sloane Stephens

From victory lane at the Miami Open to her favorite pizza joint, perhaps for the final time, it was quite a day for Sloane Stephens.

Isner prevails

Just relax, man: How John Isner won the biggest title of his career

After struggling all season, John Isner finally let loose at the Miami Open and walked away with the winner's trophy.

Reax: Isner wins biggest tourney of career

WATCH: Isner surprised by fatherhood question.

John Isner, father of none, was taken aback by a question about how parenthood helped him secure his first ATP 1000 title at the Miami Open.

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Serena Williams

Is there reason to doubt Serena?

New mom Serena Williams was sent home too soon from Indian Wells and Miami. D'Arcy Maine and Katie Barnes sort through their feelings on what the icon's comeback to tennis means and what we should expect in the coming months.

Upcoming Serena Williams' documentary

Serena Williams was in a sharing mood on Monday -- posting a very cute photo with her daughter, Alexis, as well as the trailer for her upcoming HBO documentary series.

Miami Open

Beating Venus Williams a testament to Danielle Collins' strong resilience

Danielle Collins isn't like most of her fellow tennis peers, which is probably why she is starting to win so many matches.

Venus shocked by qualifer Collins in Miami

Danielle Collins, who survived two qualifying matches to make the main draw at the Miami Open, ousted her idol Venus Williams in a quarterfinal match at Key Biscayne.

Collins sends Venus Williams crushing out of Miami Open.

World No. 93 Danielle Collins shocks three-time Miami Open champion Venus Williams 6-2 6-3 in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

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Federer falls

Not a lot of answers for Roger Federer's failures during crunch time

Roger Federer had chances, lots of them. But like he did last week at Indian Wells, he simply had no answers when it mattered most in his opening match at the Miami Open.

Kokkinakis stuns Federer in Miami.

21-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis upsets No. 1 Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the round of 64 at the Miami Open.

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Roger Federer

When did Roger Federer discover his dominance?

Roger Federer made this discovery in the 2004 U.S. Open final against Lleyton Hewitt, he discloses to writer Michael Steinberger. This is the never-before-told oral history of that moment.

Why Roger Federer might not be the best example for fellow players to follow

Word to the wise: Just because Roger Federer has thrived since a long hiatus from the tennis court doesn't mean other players will. Just look at Novak Djokovic.

Serena stumbles

If Serena Williams didn't know who Naomi Osaka was, she does now

Naomi Osaka said she wanted to impress Serena Williams when they met Wednesday at the Miami Open. Let's just say she did that -- and then some.

Serena gets upset in 1st round.

Serena Williams is eliminated in the first round of the Miami Open in two sets by Naomi Osaka.

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Tennis

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic's moment of dominance

In the past 10 years, Novak Djokovic has won 12 majors and 68 tournaments, seventh most in the Open era. Author Nathan Hill explores the 2011 forehand winner that defines the Djoker's now-storied career.

miami open

Osaka on Serena: 'I wanted to impress her'

Naomi Osaka's incredible run continued on Wednesday in her opening-round match against her hero, Serena Williams. And if her impressive play didn't win over the crowd, her postmatch interview definitely did.

The arrival of the WTA's new guard could be on time for Miami

On the men's side, Federer said his loss to Juan Martin del Potro in the finals of Indian Wells -- his first loss in 17 matches in 2018 -- "should sting for a bit," but "there is not too much time to dwell over it" as everyone heads to Miami.

Sharapova withdraws from Miami Open

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Miami Open that begins next week because of a left forearm injury.

Indian Wells final

Gentle giant? Spoiler? Nope, Indian Wells champ Juan Martin del Potro is a beast

A gentle giant? Pfft. Juan Martin del Potro showed he might be the heavyweight champ of the tennis universe with a smash-mouth win against Roger Federer in the final of Indian Wells.

Reax: Del Potro beats Federer

Del Potro tops Federer, wins BNP Paribas Open.

Juan Martin del Potro defeats Roger Federer in three sets (6-4, 6-7, 7-6) to win the BNP Paribas Open.

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del Potro's tweener all for not, Federer wins point.

During a rally in the second set, Roger Federer sends the ball over the head of Juan Martin del Potro, who happens to pull off a brilliant tweener. Unfortunately, Federer is right there for the return and wins the point.

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del Potro says he fought to beat Federer.

Juan Martin del Potro reacts to defeating Roger Federer in the BNP Paribas Open and explains if he is ready to win grand slams again.

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Indian Wells women's final

Osaka claims first career title at Indian Wells

Naomi Osaka needed just 70 minutes to dispatch Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday to win the BNP Paribas Open in a matchup of 20-year-old rising stars.

Osaka 'was really stressed' in match against Halep.

After beating Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka says she tried to make her No. 1 opponent "really irritated" and looks ahead to playing in the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

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The Dominant 20

The Dominant 20: Usain Bolt, the 10th most dominant athlete of our time

He's a six-time IAAF Athlete of the Year, eight-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the 100 and 200 meters. Not bad! ESPN's Anthony Olivieri runs some other numbers on the fastest man in history.

The Dominant 20

In celebration of ESPN The Magazine's 20th anniversary, Peter Keating's crunched the numbers to find the most dominant athletes of our time.

Venus beats Serena

After loss to Venus, it's time to temper our expectations for Serena

Whether it was against Venus or another top player, Serena Williams showed that while she is improving, she still has a ways to go before returning to championship-level tennis.

ICYMI: How Venus Williams took down sister Serena at Indian Wells

The sister showdown at Indian Wells more or less turned into a dominant display from Venus Williams, who beat her sister Serena in straight sets. Here's how it all went down.

Venus beats Serena for first time in nearly four years.

In the third round in Indian Wells, Venus Williams beats Serena Williams in straight sets.

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Reaction: Venus takes out sister Serena

Serena on Venus: 'This is the best she's played.'

Serena Williams says she's missing shots she rarely misses and praises her sister after Venus Williams' 6-3, 6-4 win.

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Venus calls matchup against Serena 'a treat.'

Venus Williams attributes her victory over her sister to the fact that she has played more matches of late and talks about being a role model to the youth.

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Davis Cup reform

Proposed Davis Cup reform still very much a work in progress

Before we get too excited about the major overhaul to Davis Cup competition, it's important to recognize that it is far from a perfect solution.

Davis Cup revamp plans get mixed response

The International Tennis Federation's plan to stage the Davis Cup at one location over seven days in November has gotten a mixed reaction from countries.

Laureus award

A rare honor Serena didn't deserve

There was no mention that the 2017 Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award was going to be for career achievement. So how did Serena Williams, who missed 11 months, win? A case could be made that she wasn't even the top sportswoman in her family.

Tiafoe's moment

Why Delray Beach winner Frances Tiafoe deserves a good night's sleep

Yes, Frances Tiafoe won his first career tournament, at Delray Beach, but before we start asking for long-term predictions, just let him close his eyes for a while.

Tiafoe wins 1st career ATP title at Delray Beach

Frances Tiafoe, 20, of the U.S. clinched his first ATP title at the Delray Beach Open, becoming the youngest American to win a title since Andy Roddick's 2002 trophy at age 19.

The Undefeated

United States Tennis Association to honor Althea Gibson with a statue

The two-time U.S. national champion will be immortalized at US Open site.

He coached Sloane Stephens to a US Open title, but Kamau Murray's big goal is a youth tennis center in Chicago

He's creating a pipeline of black tennis talent.

Did you see that?

Trick-shot artist nails tennis boomerang.

Pablo Schurig shows off "the boomerang trick shot volley" in this amazing tennis trick.

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Meet your new ATP No. 1, Roger Federer

It's officially historic: Federer is oldest No. 1

Defying the odds with his resurgence, 36-year-old Roger Federer leaped over Rafael Nadal to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking, the oldest man or woman to top computerized rankings.

Surpassing Serena, 10th Wimbledon: Milestones Federer can still achieve

On Monday, February 19, Roger Federer will become the oldest top-ranked player in tennis at the age of 36. With Federer, nothing is impossible, so we took a look at some other records he could attain.

Players congratulate Federer on return to No. 1.

Tennis players share well wishes to Roger Federer as he becomes the oldest player to be ranked No. 1 in the world.

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Federer reax

Federer defying odds with resurgence at 36 years old.

Mike Golic and Adnan Virk weigh in on Roger Federer becoming the oldest player to claim ATP's No. 1 ranking.

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The return of Serena

Despite doubles loss, no reason to worry about Serena Williams

Serena Williams certainly did not play up to snuff in her return to competition at Fed Cup, but we're confident we'll see a much better player in the coming weeks.

Serena loses in doubles in return to competition

In Serena Williams' first competition since giving birth five months ago, she and her sister Venus Williams lost 6-2, 6-3 to Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands on Sunday in a Fed Cup doubles match.

Serena returns, Williams sisters fall in Fed Cup doubles match

More from Fed Cup

Serena Williams still totally won this weekend

Serena Williams lost her doubles match with sister Venus at the Fed Cup on Sunday, but the Americans still emerged victorious -- and the 23-time Grand Slam champion had the best fan there rooting her on.

Lauren Davis makes the most of her time at Fed Cup

Lauren Davis was ultimately sidelined at the Fed Cup, but she still made the most of her time in Asheville, North Carolina.

Davis Cup

Davis Cup win sort of makes up for dismal U.S. results Down Under

A little success is better than none at all, no? The U.S. men, who did not fare well in Australia, aced the start of Davis Cup season.

Davis Cup: U.S. ousts Serbia with doubles win

The United States won its doubles match against Serbia, clinching a berth in the Davis Cup quarterfinal round against the Hungary-Belgium winner in April.

Team GB need swift return for thriving Edmund

Kyle Edmund always had the talent -- now he's finally realising his potential: that was the common theme as ESPN's Tom Hamilton spoke to the Briton's first individual coach, his former roommate and half of his current coaching setup.

Federer on latest Slam win

ICYMI at Australian Open: Federer, Wozniacki master Melbourne

The first Grand Slam of the year is run and won, but there was far more to this tournament than just the brilliant wins by Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki.

Australian Open Men's Final

Beneath Federer's success, some more sobering signs for the Big Four

Roger Federer's epic Australian Open demonstration came at an excellent time for the ATP, but his feat utterly overshadowed a different story: The unexpected collapse of the group known as the Big Four.

What Australian Open champ Roger Federer does defies logic

We know Roger Federer is a superstar, but seriously, what he continues to accomplish is like nothing we have ever seen before in sports.

Staying calm in the fifth set made all the difference for Roger Federer

Just when things looked bleak, Roger Federer picked up his game down the stretch to win the Australian Open.

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