Monte Carlo Draw: Djokovic with Federer and Nadal with Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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Monte Carlo Draw: Djokovic with Federer and Nadal with Wawrinka

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TENNIS – The Draw of the 2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Master, the first Master 1000 Tournament on clay of the season, was held today. The possible semifinals could be Nadal-Wawrinka and Djokovic- Federer. The prestigious Monte-Carlo Rolex Master in the Country Club will get underway on Sunday. Diego Sampaolo

Mont Carlo Draw

The King of Monte-Carlo Rafa Nadal, eight-time champion at the Country Club, could meet David Ferrer in the quarter final and Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinal. Defending champion Novak Djokovic could face Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals and Roger Federer in the semifinals. The other possible quarter finals could be Wawrinka-Milos Raonic and Federer against either Jo Wilfred Tsonga or last year’s semifinalist Fabio Fognini.

Nadal, who lost just two matches against Guillermo Coria in the third round in 2003 and against Novak Djokovic in the final last year, could face 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, if the Swiss World Number 3 will be able to return to the same form which led him to his triumph Down Under. It could be a re-match of this year’s Australian Open final won by the Lausanne player.

In the bottom half of the draw Djokovic, winner last year against Nadal and twice more finalist in 2009 and 2012, could face Roger Federer, who played in three consecutive finals in 2006, 2007 and 2008 in the other semifinal. They have a 1-1 head-t-head draw this year: Federer won the Dubai semifinal, but Djokovic beat the Swiss 17-Grand Slam champion in the Indian Wells final.

First quarter:

In the first quarter of the draw Nadal will start his campaign against Giles Simon or a qualifier. Nadal will be looking to become the first player in the Open Era to win nine titles in the same tournament. In the third round the Mallorcan legend may play against Michail Youzhny who will make his debut against Italian Andreas Seppi. In the quarter final Nadal could face either Grigor Dimitrov or David Ferrer. Nadal dropped a set against Dimitrov last year in the Mediterranean Principality. Dimitrov, who will make his debut against Spaniard Marcel Granollers in the first round, beat Djokovic on clay last year in Madrid. In the head-to-head clashes on clay Nadal leads 17-1 against Ferrer

Monte-Carlo is like a home-tournament for Nadal who won eight years in a row between 2005 and 2012 and boasts a record of 48-2 winning matches. “Monte-Carlo is the tournament I dreamt to win when I was a child. I watched this court with the sea in the backdrop on television and I thought it would have been fantastic to lift this trophy in this venue. I managed to win eight times and the crowd has adopted me. Mont-Carlo is my favourite tournament”, said Nadal

Second quarter:

Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka has been drawn in a second quarter which features some clay specialists like Nicholas Almagro, Tommy Robredo and Federico Delbonis. Wawrinka will start his campaign against either Marin Cilic or Fernando Verdasco before a possible third round clash against Almagro and Robredo, Delbonis or Milos Raonic.

Third round:

Roger Federer returns to Monte-Carlo after two years of absence. He reached the quarter final in 2011. “The goal is to win another Grand Slam. I have more chances at Wimbledon and at the US Open. I beat Djokovic at Dubai but It is more difficult to beat Rafa”, said Federer on the eve of Monte-Carlo.

Federer will be bidding to win the 22nd Master 1000 tournament of his career.

Federer, who won in Dubai and reached the final in Indian Wells losing against Djokovic, will start against either Ivo Karlovic or Radek Stepanek in the second round before possibly meeting 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz. Federer may face either Jo Wilfred Tsonga or last year’s Monte-Carlo semifinalist Fabio Fognini. The Italian is a clay specialist and beat Andy Murray last week in the Davis Cup quarter final between Italy and Great Britain in Naples. Federer and Fognini led their national teams to the Davis Cup semifinal and will meet next September for the match between Switzerland and Italy.

Number 10 seed and World Number 13 Fognini will start against Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the first round and Roberto Bautista Agut or Vasek Pospisil in the second round.

Fourth quarter:

Last year’s Monte-Carlo champion Novak Djokovic is in very good form and is ready to defend his title after scoring the Indian Wells-Miami double for the second time in his career. “I live and train in Monte-Carlo. Winning here in the Club where I train gives me an amazing feeling.”

Djokovic will face either Gael Monfils or Kevin Anderson in the third round before facing a possible quarter final clash against Tomas Berdych. Ernests Gulbis against Aleksander Dolgopolov (semifinalist at Indian Wells) will be the most interesting first round match in this quarter of the draw.

Djokovic will be looking to clinch his fifth consecutive Master 1000 title after winning in Shanghai and Paris Bercy at the end of 2013 and winning Indian Wells and Miami last month.

The Big Four Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray (absent this year in Monte-Carlo) have won 34 of the last 36 Master 1000 tournaments. The only players able to break this dominance of the Big Four were Robin Soderling in 2010 and David Ferrer in 2012.

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Gael Monfils Joins Forces With Former Long-Time Coach Of Dominic Thiem

Will the Frenchman return to his best form with the help of his new mentor?

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Tennis star Gael Monfils will start the 2021 season with a new team setup after confirming the appointment of a new coach.

 

The former US Open semi-finalist has paired up with the renowned Gunther Bresnik who is best known for his time spent working alongside Dominic Thiem for over a decade until their split in 2019. Thiem is now coached by Nicolas Massu. Bresnik is the former Davis Cup captain of Austria and has worked with numerous top names such as Ernests Gulbis, Jerzy Janowicz, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte.

Monfils has been training with Bresnik during the off-season but only now has it been confirmed that the two have formed an agreement to work together. However, over the coming weeks Monfils will be guided by another Austrian. Co-coach Richard Ruckelshausen will work with the world No.11 in Australia and has been appointed as the captain of the French ATP Cup team.

“I’ve known Gaël for a long time,” Bresnik told krone.at on January 9th. “With Ernests Gulbis and Stefan Lochbihler’s son, he worked on his shape here in Spain (during the off-season).”

The 34-year-old will be looking to get back on top form following what was a roller-coaster 2020. Monfils started last year by winning 16 matches within a three-month period. However, following the pause in tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic he struggled to regain that form. Ending the season with three consecutive first round losses.

Monfils had been working with Liam Smith. The upcoming Australian Open will be his 54th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He has only reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne major once which was back in 2016.

So far in his career Monfils has won 10 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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Alex de Minaur Says US Open Breakthrough Was A ‘Dark Time’ For Him

A milestone performance at a major is usually a reason for celebration but for the world No.23 it was bittersweet.

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A turbulent 2020 season marred by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has only added fuel to the fire for Australia’s top ranked player Alex de Minaur.

 

The 21-year-old Sydney-born player is currently ranked just five places below his career high at 23rd in the world. At present he is the third youngest player in the top 30 on the ATP Tour after the Canadian duo of Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Last year de Minaur broke new territory at the US Open with a run to the quarter-finals in what is his best performance at a Grand Slam to date. At Flushing Meadows he scored wins over the likes of Richard Gasquet, Karen Khachanov and Vasek Pospisil. He was stopped in his tracks by Dominic Thiem who went on to win the title.

Despite his New York run, de Minaur believes it wasn’t his ‘best achievement.’ Even though he had only reached the fourth round of a major once in 11 attempts leading up to it. For him, mentally he wasn’t in the best place due to the effects lockdown had on him last year. During the 2020 Tour shutdown he was residing in his training camp in Spain.

2020 was a tough year. Obviously I had my best result at a Slam (Grand Slam tournament) but it doesn’t feel like my best achievement, de Minaur told ABC News Australia.
“It was still a dark time. I wasn’t feeling great. It was just mentally — I wouldn’t say — my best performance.
“I ended up putting a couple of matches together and I had my best result. It’s still something to be proud of but still 2020 as a whole, I would say, I had a lot of expectations for it and … it’s just fuelling the hunger for 2021, to make it even better.”

Striving for a bigger and better year, the Australian started 2021 off in the best possible way by winning his fourth ATP title at the Antalya Open in Turkey. His most high-profile win at the tournament was over world No.16 David Goffin in the semi-finals. As for the months ahead, de Minaur is staying coy about his expectations.

I’ve got my goal in my head of where I want to be when 2021 finishes up, but it’s a goal that I don’t like to say out loud,” he said.
“It’s a goal that me and my team had and this is a strong start. Realistically I want to keep pushing myself up the rankings, keep putting myself at the end of weeks and keep pushing these top guys.
“That’s where I believe I should be and where I want to be and I’ll do everything I can to get there.”

The next test will be the ATP Cup where de Minaur will be hoping to guide his country to the title. It was at the tournament last year where he suffered an injury which ruled him out of the Australian Open.

“Hopefully I can be playing my best tennis at the ATP Cup and the Aussie Open,” he concluded.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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