It’s that time of year. The clay court season kicks off in the beautiful setting of Monte-Carlo. A club that has so much history and year on year the history books get bigger as the top names in men’s tennis descend into this corner of France as the road to Roland Garros begins.
So, where to begin with this draw?
who else, where else? The defending champion will be the one they all want to beat. Up against a qualifier in round one the Spaniard has Thiem in his quarter and Goffin and Dimitrov in his half which are 3 of his biggest if not the biggest challenges to him on clay this spring. He looked sharp at Davis Cup but this will be a big test and potential a route to the final including Thiem, Djokovic, Goffin/Dimitrov and then Zverev/Cilic in the final.
Well, Marian Vajda will be there. Looking on social media fans seem to thinking Vajda came out of the tennis school of Hogwarts and things will be rosy and as they were before back to winning ways but this road back is very long. I don’t honestly see Novak mounting a challenge past round two and that is me being honest. Novak seeded 9th doesn’t get a BYE as only top 8 do and has a qualifier in R1 followed by potentially a rejuvenated Borna Coric
Four wildcards go into the main draw and they include one for veteran Gilles Simon, youngster Felix Auger-Aliassame, a returning Thanasi Kokkinakis and a 21 year old Lucas Catarina ranked 365 in the world without a main-draw appearance on the tour this year and a win/loss record of 10-8 on challenger tour but the Monegasque is the latest player representing Monaco to be given a wildcard.
Some notable R1 matches to look out for;
Kokkinakis v Kachanov
Paire v Lopez
Edmund v Dolgopolov
Nishikori v Berdych