The red clay season official opens this week in Monte Carlo where first round play began on Sunday.
Novak Djokovic returns after missing the first two Masters due to vaccine requirements, but in Monte Carlo, where Djokovic spends time, he’s able to play.
The 2-time Monte Carlo champion is also back at No. 1 and could stay there for a while with No. 2 Daniil Medvedev sidelined.
His draw, though, could put him up against the red-hot Miami winner Carlos Alcaraz in the quarters. Djokovic will open his clay campaign against another Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, then Roberto Bautista Agut and then the teen. He’s projected to draw either Casper Ruud or Cameron Norrie in the semifinals.
In the bottom half, Alexander Zverev is seeded second with Pablo Carreno Busta in his third round path, and either Andrey Rublev or Jannik Sinner in the quarters.
Defending champ Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime are also lined up for a quarterfinal collision.
Stan Wawrinka makes his return to tour-level play. He’ll face Alexander Bublik.
Borna Coric, Sebastian Korda, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Grigor Dimitrov and Aslan Karatsev are also in the draw.
Tsonga opens against Marin Cilic and Coric collides with Sinner tomorrow, while Korda could meet Alcaraz in the second round.
MONDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
F. Fognini (ITA) vs A. Rinderknech (FRA)
[WC] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs A. Bublik (KAZ)
[PR] B. Coric (CRO) vs  J. Sinner (ITA)
[WC] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs M. Cilic (CRO)
COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
S. Korda (USA) vs B. van de Zandschulp (NED)
Not Before 12:30 pm
K. Khachanov vs  D. Schwartzman (ARG)
 P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [Q] S. Baez (ARG)
 H. Hurkacz (POL) vs [Q] H. Dellien (BOL)
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Yipes! Poor Novak! Alcaraz has been past red hot and his favorite surface is clay. I hope I am wrong, but Djokovic likely has rust, and not yet fully in the groove..A don’t miss match just for history. They haven’t played yet.
Youth will be served, I think. On the woman’s side as well, where Swiatek has moved her game to a very high level. At this point, Alcaraz and Swiatek are great to watch. Past the talent and skill – you see two young stars with nothing to lose, in full belief of themselves and loving it. And the sponsors sure have noticed the two.
And the stories will continue to come about how both are SERIOUS Rafa fans. Alcaraz didn’t like early comparisons to his idol. Part because he was his own person and didn’t feel he was a Rafa clone, but also because he thought it was disrespectful to Nadal, a Legend he only hoped to emulate in spirit, kindness, love of the game.
Jo Tsongas announced his retirement will happen at the French Open. Probably with Gasquet and Monfils close behind (Monfils will be a seniors circuit star!)
The thing that is nice is fans move past the fact none of the 3 ever won a Slam to how great all three have been for the sport and with French fans – for France.
April 11th, 2022 at 2:21 am