Current world number one Rafael Nadal has hinted that long term rival Roger Federer is avoiding taking him on during the clay court season, the Daily Express report.

Nadal, 31, is looking to secure an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title when the tournament gets underway this week and is red hot favourite to do so.

The Spaniard took a dig at Federer in the build up to the competition, hinting that the Swiss legend was avoiding him as Federer misses the clay season for a second consecutive year.

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Talking to the media, Nadal smiled and said:

He says he will love to play against me again in best-of-five sets on clay, he said that a couple of days ago – and I thought he would play Roland Garros. Then a few days later he says he will not play in one event, so there’s a little bit of controversy with that.

Federer is taking the clay court season off to recover, looking to be in top condition for the grass season as he gets ready to defend his Wimbledon crown this summer.

One player who will be competing at the Monte Carlo Masters however is Novak Djokovic. The Serb who is on his way back from injury, could in fact meet Nadal in the quarter-finals, if both players make it to that stage.