World number one Rafael Nadal playfully teased long-time rival Roger Federer for being "contradictory" by skipping the clay-court season for a second year in succession.
Federer has enjoyed a renaissance by scaling back his schedule in the latter stages of his career, beating Nadal in a spectacular Australian Open final and in three other meetings on hard surfaces in 2017.
Despite that defeat in Melbourne, the Spaniard backed up his 'King of Clay' nickname by winning his 10th titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros.
Nadal has been troubled by a hip injury this season but, speaking at Indian Wells last month, Federer said he would "love to play Rafa on clay" again, having won just two of their 15 clashes on the surface.
Two weeks later the 36-year-old announced he will not be competing on the dirt this season, prompting a playful comment from his rival ahead of the Monte Carlo Masters.
"He said he'd love to play me again in a best-of-five on clay so I thought he'd play Roland Garros, and two days later he said he's not playing on clay. Maybe a little contradictory," joked Nadal.