The charming Monte-Carlo Country Club will host the season’s first clay Masters 1000 event from Monday, with notable players seeking the crown in the 114th edition of the prestigious event. Monte Carlo joined the Open era in 1969 and has stayed in the calendar as one of the favorite stops for many players. Tom Okker was the first Open era winner, followed by Nastase, Orantes, Vilas, Borg, Wilander, Lendl, Muster, Moya, Kuerten, Ferrero, Djokovic, Wawrinka and the 11-time champion Rafael Nadal! Only four players have lifted the Monte Carlo trophy since 2005, and the most distinguished players are hoping to fight for another title next Sunday. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are in the different parts of the draw, competing for the first time since the Australian Open.
In his first match since the ninth Australian Open crown, Novak should face Jannik Sinner in the most anticipated second-round, with the young Italian reaching the first Masters 1000 final in Miami. The champion from Florida, Hubert Hurkacz, David Goffin and Alexander Zverev are also in the top quarter and Novak’s rivals.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are the top favorites in Monte Carlo.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini lead the second quarter, alongside Aslan Karatsev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Cristian Garin and Alex de Minaur, who will try to surprise them and advance into the semis. Andrey Rublev and Rafael Nadal are the top-ranked players in the third quarter, with all eyes set on the Spaniard. Rafa is playing for the first time since the Australian Open, dealing with a back injury and feeling better ahead of his beloved clay.
Diego Schwartzman and Daniil Medvedev lead the bottom quarter alongside Karen Khachanov and the struggling defending champion Fabio Fognini. In 2019, Fognini claimed the first Masters 1000 crown in Monte Carlo, beating Rafael Nadal in the semis and Dusan Lajovic in the title clash. Fabio ousted Dusan 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 38 minutes, delivering Italy’s first Masters 1000 trophy. Fognini was the lowest-ranked Monte Carlo winner since Gustavo Kuerten in 1999, taking almost half of the return points and securing four breaks to leave Lajovic behind. Like many other tournaments, Monte Carlo couldn’t go on last April due to the pandemic, with the organizers hoping for a good event in the week ahead of us.