The highlight of next tennis week will undoubtedly be the clay Masters in Monte Carlo. They will try to compete with him in the women’s competition in Charleston, but Ons Jaber as the first racket and Yulia Putintseva as the second will be difficult to do.
Seeding leader on Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters became a Serb Novak Djokovic… And Novak’s net is far from the easiest, especially considering that he did not play from Melbourne. The path to the final looks like this: Sinner, Evans / Gurkach, Zverev, Tsitsipas / Berrettini.
Not a single easy match. Sinner is adding every month and is already playing almost at the level of the Top 10, Gurkach is not so good on clay, but he won the recent Masters in Miami and is in great shape, and Zverev and Tsitsipas are Zverev and Tsitsipas. Is Djokovic capable of defeating all these rivals? Yes of course. On the ground? Yes of course. Does he need to be in perfect shape for this? Probably not. In a good shape? Yes.
What’s with the Serb uniform now? Unknown. Probably, he healed the injury to the abdominal muscles. Is Novak in perfect shape? Obviously not. “Roland Garros” will start almost two months later, in February Djokovic had a two-centimeter muscle tear, he did not train for a while and missed an important tournament in Miami. Novak himself said that he now relies on “Helmets”, and will use the rest of the tournaments for preparation. So it is difficult to consider the Serb a favorite of “Masters” or even a contender for the title. Not because of disrespect or underestimation of his powers. But if you believe the words of Djokovic about his priorities, it is difficult to believe in his desire to give all the best in the first clay tournament of the season and risk his health.
Novak will definitely fight in a couple of matches and, most likely, will pass Sinner and Gurkach (Yannick is more dangerous), but he is unlikely to break the veins with Zverev and Tsitsipas. This is dangerous, and in the final, Rafa may well be waiting. Losing to Nadal will be more offensive and dangerous for the legacy. We believe that the probability of Djokovic’s victory is lower than the probability of his defeat in the first match. Still, Helmets are important, and Sinner is good now.
Perhaps the favorite of the first half of the grid will be the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas… He rocketed in Paris in 2020, showed class in Melbourne and played in the final of the last clay tournament before Roland Garros. The main contender for the second semifinal place is Zverev.
Also in this half starts Aslan Karatsev, but he, like Djokovic, was not very lucky with the net. Musetti, Tsitsipas, Garin / Auger, Berretini, Zverev / Djokovic. This is too much for a tennis player whom we have not yet seen in ATP clay tournaments. Perhaps (but not a fact), Aslan will go through the first round, but then he is too serious an opponent.
In the second half of the grid, three Russians start: Rublev, Khachanov and Medvedev. And each of them has its own problems.
Andrey has this Rafael Nadal… Path to the semifinals: Katarina (the owner of the courts, received a wild card), Bautista-Agut, Nadal. The first two matches Rublev should win, but to say that you “should” beat Rafa in the clay quarterfinals of “Masters” is … Andrey has a problem.
At Khachanov, Carreño-Bust and Shvartsman. On the ground, they are stronger than Karen (and they just seem to be more stable players). By the way, the opening match against Jere will also be difficult.
For Medvedev, it is he himself Shvartsman and Nadal. Danya is at that level (and in that rating position) when defeat before the final is, if not a failure, then a failure. The ground is not Medvedev’s strong point, playing in uncomfortable conditions fraught with frequent mistakes is not Medvedev’s strong side (Danya is angry with himself and the conditions, which leads to new mistakes and outbursts of emotions). Shvartsman has long wanted to defeat his abuser, and the ground is the perfect coating. Nadal is still good on clay and in general – the main favorite of the “Masters”. To get to the finals, Medvedev needs to overcome all these obstacles. Path to the final: Krajinovich, Kechmanovich, Shvartsman, Nadal. Most likely, Medvedev will not get to Shvartsman. Nadal will not get there for sure.
Not to be missed in Monte Carlo:
Djokovic’s matches. Let’s see how the best play after serious injuries and a change of coverage.
Starting match Goffin – Cilic.
Starting checkmate Musetti – Karatsev.
Opening match Garin – Auger.
Likely semi-finals: Zverev – Tsitsipas, Nadal – Shvartsman.