Federer, Murray Begin Clay Season Tuesday In Monte Carlo; Thiem, Raonic Winners
by Staff | April 11th, 2016, 4:05 pm
  • 52 Comments

Roger Federer and Andy Murray open their 2016 clay season Tuesday in Monte Carlo, a tournament neither has won.

Federer’s opener also marks his first match since undergoing left knee surgery shortly after returning from Australia in February.

“[Monte Carlo] is an opportunity for top guys to play more freely, since there is less pressure and it’s a change of surface for everyone,” said Federer. “I’ve played very well in Monaco in the past, but for now my objective is to make my return to play, gain a good feel and go from there.”

The 34-year-old Federer planned to return in Miami but withdrew due to gastroenteritis. Prior to his injury, Federer reached the final in Brisbane (l. to Raonic) and the semi-finals at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) on Jan. 28. The four-time finalist (2006-08, 2014) has a 28-12 record in Monte-Carlo. The only other tournament he has played more than without winning the title is Rome (15 times).

Federer will face Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who he has never lost to in three meetings. Though this will be their first this decade.

Former 2-time semifinalist Murray begins against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Murray enters off a disappointing March in the U.S. where he went just 2-2 losing to Federico Delbonis at Indian Wells and Grigor Dimitrov in Miami.

“Obviously the past few weeks have been tough for me,” Murray said. “It’s very difficult to perform at the highest level every single week.”

Murray has made improvements on his least favorite surface, and last year he won Madrid.

“It wasn’t such a huge break I had away from the clay. I feel like I’ve been able to adjust a bit quicker because of that,” Murray said. “There’s no reason why I can’t have a good clay court season.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Goffin and Gilles Simon are also in action. Simon will meet Grigor Dimitrov in the Bulgarian’s opener. Simon has won four of five from Dimitrov but Grigor won most recently in January at Brisbane.

On Monday, young favorites Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Milos Raonic all advanced. Thiem lost the first set before coming back to beat qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

French favorites Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Benoit Paire, who saved a matchpoint, were also winners.

Former champions Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stan Warwinka begin play Wednesday.

TUESDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[15] G. Simon (FRA) vs G. Dimitrov (BUL)
[Q] P. Herbert (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
[3] R. Federer (SUI) vs G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [8] J. Tsonga (FRA)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
[Q] D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs P. Cuevas (URU)
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) vs F. Lopez (ESP)
F. Fognini (ITA) vs P. Lorenzi (ITA)
J. Chardy (FRA) vs [14] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)


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Short On Confidence, Rafael Nadal Begins Clay Campaign In Monte Carlo [Video]
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52 Comments for Federer, Murray Begin Clay Season Tuesday In Monte Carlo; Thiem, Raonic Winners

RZ Says:

Murray talks about his newfound confidence on clay: http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/14418395.Andy_Murray__Davis_Cup_heroics_
have_given_me_belief_I_can_win_Grand_Slam_on_clay/

Chrisford1 – you could appreciate this article as it talks out Andy figuring out how to improve his clay game.


Green Lady Says:

And why not then Andy, pulling for you to win one maybe two of the remaining GS this year, i dont think many expected Stan to win the FO last year, so life is full of surprises, although i think his best chance would be another W title, so come on Andy, lets get a GS this year ….


Markus Says:

Djokovic is in a very good position to duplicate Steffi’s Golden Slam. It’s very rare for stars to align for anybody to be so lucky (nobody complain please, am not using lucky in a pejorative way). But everything seems to point to Novak accomplishing that this year. Looking forward to that!

In the meantime, he’ll probably add a few more masters 1000 this year to cement his place in the tennis trinity with Federer and Nadal.


Pauly Says:

Winning everything won’t be easy
I’m Sure the others will have a say in that
Only 4 players can seriously spoil Djokovic’s dream
Nadal if he regains top form
Wawrinka can outhit anyone
Murray has the talent
Federer is genius

Nothing is impossible


J-Kath Says:

Glad to see Andy got through…took 3 sets though.


jalep Says:

Tennis-x, HELLO…
Are you guys aware of
how messed up the wrap
on this thread is?

It’s unreadable….
Can you fix it,
Please?


J-Kath Says:

Jalep

It comes and goes….I’ve tried hitting “Home” and it sorts itself out….still, it does need some improvement…


jalep Says:

Hello J-Kath. Nice to
see that Andy made it!
Tennis-X has
to fix this
thread on
their end.


jalep Says:

Hey, JK, looks like Tennis-x fixed it!


J-Kath Says:

Good Jalep..Yep Andy thru (so far). Roger thru as well…..forget who your favourite is….


jalep Says:

Fed dropped serve serving for the match at 5-2, 2nd set. But it was just a nervous wobble. GGL held, but Fed made it on the 2nd try. 6-3, 6-4.
Tsonga match next…

Fabio Fognini – won the 1st set. But Lorenzi bagel’d him in the 2nd. Forza Fabio!

RBA v Chardy is the last match, I see.

J-Kath – I’m a Nole ole fan but a fan of many players in general — it’s a compliment, imo, when people can’t tell who my favorite is.

The only WTA tournament this week is a 280 in Bogota, Colombia, and the draw is very thin. Fed Cup is this week-end and Stuttgart starts this coming Monday – I’ll be following those tourny’s.


jalep Says:

Fognini has been side-lined with an abdominal injury since mid-February. This is his 1st match back!

Commentators on Tennis Channel 🙄🙄. Immediately they want to make fun of him and joke that he’s tanking. NO and NO. He won the 1st set 6-2 and ran out of gas. He needs more match action. Therefore…bagel in set 2 and bread stick in 3rd. Congrats Lorenzi.

Good effort and best of luck the rest of clay season, Fabio 💪


Margot Says:

Andy in sore need of match practise. From what I saw looked very, very rusty indeed.
But knows it and acknowledged in post match interviews, in his usual dry, honest way.


Green Lady Says:

Margot, didnt see the match, but Andy seems to get better the more matches he plays ….


Green Lady Says:

Jalep yeah, i have to say i hate that expression when it comes to some losses ….


RZ Says:

Off-topic but there’s no thread for this.
Czech news agency issues retraction, apologizes to Berdych for Panama Papers allegation
http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2016/04/x/58103/#.Vw0dQ_krKWg


jalep Says:

Being too eager to dramatize is what Mary Carillo was doing, Green Lady.

She had to back track a little when reminded that Fabio had been out injured. It annoyed me for a minute. Fabio has tanked a match, (perhaps, I’ll admit), but it wasn’t today in Monte Carlo vs Lorenzi.


Daniel Says:

So apart from a lapse when first serving for the match at 5-2 second set Fed had a great comeback? Wasn’t able to watch the match, will try to catch highlights.

What about his knee, is the scar noticeable?


jalep Says:

Carreno Busta does not go away! Back on serve. Jo better be careful.


jalep Says:

I didn’t notice a scar, Daniel. He was moving well.

And I’d say, yes – a good, solid comeback. Mary Carillo would say beautiful and delicious or something. Fed should be okay vs RBA or Chardy. RBA is leading Chardy atm.


jalep Says:

Tsonga serving for the match chance at 6-5 blew it. Tie break for 2nd set now.

I admire PCB’s fight. Jo has definitely been donating points this set. I’m cheering for PCB to win the TB.

Match point Tsonga on PCB serve…Jo wins but it was rough – lotsa rust out there today.

Jo will play Pouille or Gasquet.


Giles Says:

I hear Mirka applied plenty of make up on fed’s knee to hide the scar.


chrisford1 Says:

RZ – read it and loved it. Next to Azarenka having a crap serve as a 6′ strong young gal, the greatest mystery in tennis recently was why Andy, who is a total natural for clay – sucked on that surface.
His hammer down of Rafa at Madrid and taking Nole to the edge in the FO semi final shows that mystery solved, I think.
I wish Andy the very best in 2017, after Novak conquers all in 2016.


RZ Says:

Glad you liked it Chrisford1.

The other Murray and Soares just edged out Nestor-Stepanek in their first match with Jamie as the #1 doubles player. 2 set tie breaks (Murray/Soares took the second 11-9) and 14-12 in the supertie.


jane Says:

glad jo won.


Markus Says:

What kind of knee surgery did Federer have? Maybe it was just an arthroscopic procedure, hence the lack of a visible scar.


jane Says:

rz, berdych had a funny tweet about that ;)

Tomáš Berdych ‏@tomasberdych 10h10 hours ago
I was talking about enema not about panama…#journalismjobs #media #panamapapers 😉


jalep Says:

Daniel or anyone interested – a more detailed account of Fed’s match:

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/murray-beats-herbert-reach-monte-carlo-masters-3rd-134504316–ten.html

Chardy fighting valiantly for the 2nd set vs Bautista-Agut. Chardy laughing at Bernardes argument, “the ball is not square”

Giles, or glued hair on the scar? Definitely couldn’t see it.


Giles Says:

jalep. Don’t know about glued hair, isn’t he hairy enough ?


Green Lady Says:

Lovely picture of Tomas and Esther, im sure when they both eventually have children, they will be beautiful, such a nice looking couple ….


Green Lady Says:

Happy for Jo, love Jo, but then again how could anyone not love Jo IMO, and a nice win for Federer, done i straight sets, to ease himself back into competition, hope the knees OK now ! ….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

GL, definitely a beautiful couple. I like Berdych. Don’t quite understand the hate x’ers have for him. He’s got a great sense of humour, and he’s shown a great commitment in the last few years.


Green Lady Says:

Tennis Vagabond without casting aspertions, and not including yourself, and only second guessing here, but i wonder if it has anything to do with him beating Federer at W in 2010, and Berdych saying that Roger made an excuse about his back hurting, or the Almagro incident, or simply because he beat Roger, and some of the things that some Fed fans said about the guy at the time were not very nice either ?, eek i will now duck for cover lol ….

Anyway hes been on pseudo Fed, and he seems to have a great SOH, not only that but i remember him talking so fondly about Esther when he did that charity match with Lendel at Queens in 2013, came across as having a nice warm personalty, seems people arent too quick to forgive him though ….


Daniel Says:

Saw that Ferrer pulled out of MC, big opening in the draw, chance for Goffin to make quarters to play Djoko there. Could be third Masters in a row where he will go deep after 2 semis.

Think Federer is safe versus Agut as well. His first real test will be Tsonga or Gasquet (both top 10). If he manages to pass that, play a solid match versus Djoko, who knows, last man to beat Djoko was him and last to also beat him with a Match Point before a final, in Shangai 2014, also last to beat him in a final as well, in Cincy 2015. Just not lose ugly like first 2 sets of AO, play a competitive match.

Than prepare for Madrid, where he has a better shot.

Also #2 is at stake, If Fed reaches semis and Murray Quarters, Fed back at #2.


chrisford1 Says:

Talk about dominating a news cycle. Djokovic just can’t resist multitasking and doing stuff outside tennis to keep himself busy.
Had a pre-opening of the new vegan restaurant in Monaco he and his wife “concept’d, designed, did biz plan for”. Their restaurant is called Eqvita. Tennis.com has the pics. Lot of the guys came out help celebrate the new venture. Bolleli, Grigor, Andy Murray, Troicki, Team Nole, and the aforementioned Tomas and Esther. Monfils got lost trying to find the place.
Berdych’s wife is obviously as gorgeous as they come. And Mrs. Dj, there with a big happy smile – doesn’t look very shabby either.


Dave Says:

Daniel,

Fed wouldn’t be back at number 2 if he made the semi-finals and Murray made the qf’s. Federer has 90 points to defend. so it would give him 270 point more. Murray has 0 points to defend and QF would give him 180. A difference of only 90. Murray is 120 ahead at this point.


Dave Says:

Also,

RBA has been playing really well all year. He is no pushover and will make Federer work for every point. I would say that is a guarantee to be a match that will be smooth sailing for Federer. They have never played each other on clay before either. Could be interesting. Still expect Federer to win just not as easy as some.


Dave Says:

Correction. I would say that it is no guarantee to be a match that will be smooth sailing for Federer.


RZ Says:

@TV and GL – I wish Berdych would show more of that side of himself when he plays. He seems very pleasant off the court, but he rankles me on the court, with things like refusing to shake Almagro’s hand and his overall cold demeanor.

GL, part of your theory is true for me although it has to do with making me lose out on bragging rights. I usually enter a tennis fantasy team for grand slam matches (you pick players you think will do the best, with some stipulations). I pretty much never do that well on these and often end up somewhere in the middle, but for 2010 Wimbledon I had made some really good picks and was in first place from the 2nd round onward. Then Berdych messed it all up with his wins over Fed and then Djokovic. Any other time I wouldn’t have minded as much but that was my one chance to finish on top. I haven’t quite forgiven him for that. :-)


Daniel Says:

you are right, Dave, forgot about Fed’s point last year. So Andy plays for semis almost assure he keeps #2 rank.

Right now that must be a priority for him to avoid Nole before finals Garros. If Nadal happen to land in Djoko’s side again, for Murray could be a much needed boost, to only have to deal with only one of them and in finals.

Fed also knows this and I think we’ll have a contested fight for #2 before RG.

As for Nadal and Wawa fighting for #2, Nadal would have to win at least 1 Masters and Barcelona to have a chance. Wawa is not defending much this clay season apart from 360 pts in Rome, si I think he will be safe at #4 for Garros. So again, where Nadal lands as #5 (Djoko, Murray, Fed or Wawa) will be crucial for each of them prospects, bar Djoko.


elina Says:

Nadal has a very unlikely outside shot at No. 4 if Stan does very poorly and Nadal makes finals/wins a lot in MC/Barcalona/Madrid/Rome.

Anything higher is all but impossible.


jane Says:

tennis vagabond, i like berdych too. he’s made some bad calls over the years, but NO player has been immune to that. i think he’s largely misunderstood. and yeah, he’s hella funny and self-deprecating. plus, well, those blue eyes.


Markus Says:

Berdych gets carried away during matches and sometimes loses his cool in the heat of the moment. To his credit though, once he has calmed down, he realizes what he has done and makes amends by apologizing. If you have a twitter account, check Tomas’ site. He is very funny and really seems to be a nice guy. You also get to see pictures of his very beautiful wife. To me, they are the most beautiful tennis couple, GOAT level beautiful. The other funny/nice guy in Twitter is Andy Murray.


chrisford1 Says:

The other funny/nice guy in Twitter is Andy Murray.

The King of entertaining Twitter remains Dr Ivo, with Tomas, more visual in his humor, a close 2nd.
Andy is good, and in the game. So is Roger, who strings together emoticons.
Djoker and Rafa use Twitter mainly for fan contact, talking this or that thing happening they want to talk on, putting out pics.
Nothing as good as Dr Ivo. It’s been two years but I still laugh at Ivo posting a pic from business class of a very small man, bald, dressed in green with half conical green headphones on.

Holy &!%*#!, I’m on the same flight as Jedi Master Yoda, #So honored


Dave Says:

I really hope that Andy gets the number 2 seed going into the French Open. Federer in the Semi-Finals on Clay for Nole is a much easier task than Murray. I don’t want last year to repeat itself all over again. Murray being number 2 assures that from happening. Even if Nole got the worst draw and somehow had to play Nadal in QF, Stan in the SF and Murray in the Finals. That’s a better scenario than last year. Beat the 2 biggest threats first and your mental strength will win out against Andy in the final. Even worst case scenario is better than last year. Murray and Federer both won a 250 event last year on clay. Federer got to the finals of Rome. Murray won Madrid. Not sure how much Federer will play. I think Murray will play as much as he has to to preserve the number 2 ranking. This tournament will go a long way in deciding who ends up Number 2. If Murray makes the finals, huge momentum swing. If he goes out next match, huge momentum swing for Fed if he progresses to the semi-finals.


Green Lady Says:

Markus i still go back to Andy, when Annabelle asked at the DC hows the groin ?, he said very well thanks Annabelle hows yours? lol ….


J-Kath Says:

Markus

For me, the most beautiful of the “tennis partners” is Kim. Not because I’m a fan of Andy’s but she’s more naturally beautiful than Thomas’s striking partner. Jelena is lovely too. She’s also very natural and for me she heads the absolutely charming league. Agree with the maxim: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….so we are all equally right. PS: Nole’s partner….haven’t seen a lot of her. PPS: Fed’s? She’s very presentable but not in the stunning category.

Now I must do some real work.


J-Kath Says:

Markus

Mistake….my PS: should say “Rafa’s partner” not Nole.


Green Lady Says:

Tennis players have stunning girlfriends / wives, however its whats on the inside that counts, one of my best friends has a look of Xisca, and shes also a stunning person on the inside ….

When someone said about Safin the other day and how gorgeous he was, i agree, but i always got the impression he was like “oh my god, im so good looking, but god dont i just know it !”, when people are that much in love with themselves, surely there cant be much left for anyone else ? ….


J-Kath Says:

@ Green Lady

“…..however its what’s on the inside that counts,….”

Let me know how to get some of their DNA …. needed for the outside….then I’ll work on the inside to achieve parity. If only!!!!!!


Green Lady Says:

J-Kath your a beautiful person inside, and im sure you are outside, like you said to me yesterday, dont put yourself down ;)) ….


J-Kath Says:

GL

Don’t worri about me lassie…..Actually, I’m fabulous looking …you’d stop to stare if you saw me on the street…I’ll have a pair of trousers paint covered…a cap on my head to avoid the coal dust and a scarf to hide my rash. I’ll send U a selfie one of these days.

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