You could not ask for a more stunning location for a tennis tournament.
April means a couple of things on the ATP tour. Clay court tennis returns and the annual love affair with the Monte Carlo Country Club is in full swing.
Some have been on site for a while already and others are arriving over the coming days as the best in men’s tennis begin the fight in the first of the three Masters 1000 events on clay in the lead up to Roland Garros.
Usual suspects by the coast include two time champion Novak Djokovic and a man who has won the tournament an impressive eleven times in Rafael Nadal. Both gentleman will be looking to add to their trophy cabinet and kick their season on after a bit of a shaky run of form since they met in Melbourne.
Alex Zverev the third seed will be looking forward to kicking off his season on the clay following a quiet and underwhelming season so far for the German.
The Apprentice Dominic Thiem who of course really starred on the clay last year will be under a bit of pressure to really bring his best to the dirt following his achievements last year and his win at Indian Wells.
Tsitsipas, Khachanov, Coric, Medvedev and Shapovalov will be looking to bring a new impression to the courts in Monte Carlo where as some seasoned pro’s in Cilic, Nishikori, Dimitrov & Goffin looking to prove a point with some not got going yet.
There of course are danger men involved…
Bautista-Agut, Fognini, Cecchinato, Schwartzmann, Verdasco & Kohlschreiber are player you would like to avoid on a clay court.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is also in the draw using a protected ranking and also there is former champion Stan Wawrinka who will cause trouble early rounds.
The British representatives come from Kyle Edmund who will miss out on a seeding following injury and Cam Norrie will also be looking forward to furthering his clay court skills.
There are three more players who will be under the radar and they are 23 year old Laslo Djere who won on the clay in Rio in February. 22 year old Matteo Berrettini who made the third round at Roland Garros last year and defeated Agut on route to winning his first title in Switzerland on clay last year. The final one has just come into the draw following Richard Gasquet’s withdrawal and that is 22 year old Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole was excellent at Indian Wells and Miami, he has also record three top ten wins this year.
We are still awaiting announcements of four wildcards and of course seven spots to be won via qualifying but the most beautiful stage in tennis is hotting up to put on another incredible week of clay court tennis.