April 9, or thereabouts. That is the start date of the Monte Carlo Masters 1000, the first clay-court event on the circuit for men and women. A date that is set for a particular reason: it should be the second tournament of the season in which Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal meet in the same draw.
It happened at the Australian Open, with a possible confrontation in the final, but only the Belgrade tennis player reached the final. Then Indian Wells and Miami will come, but there are two unknowns: will Nadal fully recover from his injury? Will Djokovic get permission to enter the United States? While waiting for these two answers, the new tournament director, David Massey, confirmed that both are registered in the 1000 tournament in the Monegasque city: the registration period ends on March 13.
In addition to them, the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas is also present. The main draw ceremony is scheduled for April 7 as of now, the Belgrade tennis player himself could be the number one seed, by virtue of his top ranking position.
You have to go back to the tape, but to two different years, to remember the last appearance of the two tennis players on the clay of Monte Carlo. For Rafael Nadal, it should be a return after the absence of last year, when he was defeated in the quarterfinals by Andrey Rublev, finalist of that edition.
Last year, however, another casualty for the current number two in Spain, who due to another physical problem suffered in Indian Wells, in the final lost to Taylor Fritz, remained in the pits until the following clay court events.
Cerundolo comments on Djokovic
Seeded number 5 of the ATP 250 in Buenos Aires, the local Francisco Cerundolo, before his entry into the running, was at a press conference on Tuesday to discuss several subjects including the recent performance of Novak Djokovic who has become world number one following his 10th crown won at the Australian Open.
“For me, he is the best player today. The best tennis player, the number 1 and the champion of the last Grand Slam. It’s impressive because, with all he has already won, he still wants to play and win. I respect him a lot.
And I think it’s a good thing for tennis that it is still at this level, that it is still demanding. If we’re going to beat him, we’re going to have to keep working hard to improve because at 35 he won Australia very comfortably. But it gives us an indication that there is still a long way to go.”