Monte Carlo | Djokovic will be pressured by Alcaraz and Sinner in Monaco

The third ATP Masters 1000 events of the season gets underway at the Principality of Monaco and heralds the arrival of the top clay court experts and the cream of the men’s game to the European swing which ends with Wimbledon in July.

The Monte Carlo Masters is held in a most attractive setting at the Monte Carlo Country Club overlooking the Mediterranean and the draw for the event has now been made for the event which starts on Monday.

The possibility of a classic encounter could be the clash between the top seeded Noval Djokovic and the third seed, Carlos Alcaraz, who could meet in the semi-finals having been placed in the top half of the draw.

Djokovic, the world No.1, is chasing his third title at the event but so far this season, he has not produced the sort of results fans expect of him from the three events he has played,

However, in view of his current form, to reach the last four, he has to avoid a number of pitfalls, not least Lorenzo Musetti in the third round, the Italian who got the best of him last year at the same stage!

The Serbian also has Andrey Rublev, the defending champion, as a possible quarter final opponent.

Carlos Alcaraz is more than ready for the clay court season

(Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

Meanwhile Alcaraz has already proven he is no slouch on clay having won seven of his 13 titles on this surface. The 20-year-old’s campaign kicks off against the out-of form Canadian, Felix Auger Aliassime and if it remains on track, the Norwegian clay-court expert could well face him in the last eight.

Jannik Sinner is currently the man to beat

(Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

However, the man of the season with only one loss to his name from four events including the Australian Open title before replacing Alcaraz as world No.2, will open up against the winner of the match between Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or American Sebastian Korda.

The fourth seed Daniil Medvedev is a possible semi-final opponent for Sinner but he could run into Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the quarter finals.

Rafael Nadal will be sorely missed by fans

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Netflix © 2024)

The one player everyone would hate to face is the 11-time champion of the Principality, the 37-year-old Rafa Nadal and no doubt there was a big sigh of relief when the Spaniard pulled out of the event with niggling injuries.

He announced his withdrawal last Thursday delaying his comeback following his last appearance in Brisbane where he felt a hip injury flare up.

“Unfortunately I have to tell you that I am not going to be playing in Monte Carlo. My body simply won’t allow me,” the Spanish icon said on social media.

“Even if I am working hard and making the maximum effort every day with all the will to play and compete again at tournaments that have been very important for me, the truth is that I can’t play today,” Nadal continued.

“You have no idea how hard this is for me to not be able to play these events.

“The only thing I can do is to accept the situation and try to look at the immediate future keeping the excitement and will to play in order to give me a chance for things to get better.”

The clay-court specialist and former world No.1 has dropped to 646th in the rankings and was due to use a protected ranking of ninth to get into the main draw in Monte Carlo which he last won in 2018.

Cameron Norrie leads the British challenge

(Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

British interest will focus on three payers in the singles draw and four in the doubles.

Leading the way is the national No.1 is Cameron Norrie who has had success on clay over the past year or so having won two titles on clay and will certainly to be one to follow, especially in the early stages.

Jack Draper, still finding his way as a professional player, has made a good start to the season reaching the final at Adelaide and making his first appearance at a 500 level event in Acapulco.

Last year in Monte Carlo, the 22-year-old defeated Argentina’s Sebastian Baez in straight sets before losing out to Polan’s Hubert Hurkacz in a tough three set second round battle. Having reached a career-high ranking of world No.37 in March, Draper will be eager to maintain his current momentum.

Meanwhile in contrast, the 33-year-old Dan Evans has not had such a good season so far having won just three matches in eight tournaments.

The doubles draw will see four Brits contest the title in what is shaping up to be a world class entry list. 2022 champion Joe Salsibury will lead the British charge alongside American partner Rajeev Ram in a bid to lift their first Masters 1000 title of the year. The fourth seeds will be joined by fellow top 10 stars Neal Skuspski and Jamie Murray who will be teaming up with Santiago Gonzalez and Michael Venus respectively.
Lloyd Glasspool will be hoping he can clinch a second title of the season with the British No.4 joining forces once again with Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer.



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