All eyes might be on Rafael Nadal on the Monte-Carlo Nation Membership subsequent week as he begins his clay-court marketing campaign for a record-extending twelfth Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters crown.
Over the previous 15 years, the Spanish famous person has largely dominated every spring European swing, and it’s within the Principality the place, as a rule, he has laid down an early marker to his rivals. Nadal has won 71 of his 76 matches in Monte-Carlo, together with an Open Period document eight consecutive titles from 2005 to 2012 and an additional three crowns from 2016 to 2018.
On the eve of the 2021 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, which begins on Sunday, ATPTour.com appears to be like at 5 contenders who might pose a risk to Nadal’s hopes of claiming a thirty sixth ATP Masters 1000 trophy.
Novak Djokovic – Finest Monte-Carlo Efficiency: 2013 & 2015 champion
Recollections of how rapidly Nadal dismantled the World No. 1’s recreation within the 2020 Roland Garros last might linger, however Monte-Carlo resident Djokovic can be notoriously robust within the Principality. The Serbian famous person picked up the 2013 and 2015 titles, when he beat Nadal within the last and semi-finals respectively, and comes into this yr’s version well-rested after capturing a document ninth Australian Open title in February.
Djokovic and Nadal have met 25 occasions on clay throughout their legendary 56-match ATP Head2Head rivalry, which Djokovic leads 29-27, however Nadal has an 18-7 benefit of their purple filth clashes that features 4 matches in Monte-Carlo. Nadal, who beat Djokovic within the 2009 and 2012 Monte-Carlo finals, has gained their previous 4 clay-court matches (2017 Madrid, 2018 & 2019 Rome and 2020 Roland Garros).
Ought to the pair meet within the Monte-Carlo last on 18 April, each might be near high kind, and such a match will come right down to small margins. Twelve of their 25 clay matches have include a trophy on the road (Nadal leads 8-4).
Djokovic vs. Nadal in Monte-Carlo
|2009||Closing||Nadal 6-3, 2-6, 6-1|
|2012||Closing||Nadal 6-3, 6-1|
|2013||Closing||Djokovic 6-2, 7-6(1)|
|2015||Semi-finals||Djokovic 6-3, 6-3|
Daniil Medvedev – Finest Monte-Carlo Efficiency: 2019 semi-finals
With a 10-18 profession document (.357) on purple filth, it may be stated that Medvedev has but to seek out his clay toes. However the Russian, who additionally resides in Monte-Carlo, proved in beating Djokovic en path to the 2019 semi-finals, that he’s able to robust performances on the floor. Whereas Nadal leads Medvedev 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, the pair has by no means met earlier than on clay courts.
World No. 2 Medvedev will definitely be assured, ought to he face Nadal in Monte-Carlo, the place he trains regularly, having gained his final 10 matches of 2020 and his first 10 matches of 2021, a run that included 12 victories towards eight totally different High 10 opponents. The 25-year-old beat Nadal 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 within the semi-finals on the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals. Medvedev has gotten off to a 17-3 begin this season, together with serving to Russia seize the ATP Cup crown. He went on to achieve the Australian Open last (l. to Djokovic) and lifted his tenth ATP Tour title on the Open 13 Provence in Marseille (d. Herbert).
Stefanos Tsitsipas – Finest Monte-Carlo Efficiency: 2019 Third Spherical
The Greek star got here again from two-sets-to-love down towards Nadal in a 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 quarter-final victory on the Australian Open in February, which represented his first win over the Spaniard for the reason that 2019 Mutua Madrid Open semi-finals. That day on purple filth, Tsitsipas gained 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 and the 22-year-old might fancy his probabilities of beating Nadal once more, so early within the clay swing, if the chance arises in Monte-Carlo.
Tsitsipas has been in robust kind to this point this season, compiling a 17-5 document, which features a semi-final run at Melbourne Park (l. to Medvedev) and a last look on the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (l. to Zverev). Tsitsipas, who has a 1-3 document in ATP Tour clay-court finals, misplaced his final clay-court match to Nadal 6-3, 6-4 within the 2019 Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals.
Diego Schwartzman – Finest Monte-Carlo Efficiency: 2017 Quarter-finals
The Argentine, who will characteristic in Monte-Carlo for the fifth time subsequent week, might be aiming to attract upon his reminiscences of beating Nadal en path to his first Masters 1000 last in September final yr on the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Schwartzman entered Rome with an 0-9 record towards Nadal, however held his nerve to triumph 6-2, 7-5 within the quarter-finals.
The 28-year-old Schwartzman went on to beat Dominic Thiem in 5 hours and eight minutes to achieve his first Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros, the place Nadal avenged the Rome loss with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(0) victory. Schwartzman, who has a 3-3 document in clay-court finals, picked up the Argentina Open trophy in Buenos Aires (d. Cerundolo) final month.
Fabio Fognini – Finest Monte-Carlo Efficiency: 2019 Champion
At his perfect, the 33-year-old Italian can beat anybody, notably on clay, a floor on which he has recorded 9 of his 15 High 10 victories. World No. 18 Fognini, who will try to retain his 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters crown subsequent week, is not going to concern Nadal, having gained three of their 9 matches on purple filth.
Fognini beat Nadal twice on clay in 2015 within the Rio Open offered by Claro semi-finals and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell third spherical. In his emotional run to the most important title of his profession two years in the past, Fognini recorded a shock 6-4, 6-2 victory within the 2019 Monte-Carlo semi-finals. Nadal holds the upper-hand, 13-3 in their ATP Head2Head series, two months on from beating Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 within the Australian Open third spherical.