The Monte-Carlo Rolex Master was officially presented in Milan - UBITENNIS
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The Monte-Carlo Rolex Master was officially presented in Milan

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The 2016 edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master was officially presented today at the Monaco Pavillion at the Expo in Milan. The 110th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master, part of the Master 1000 series, will be taking place from 9th to 17th April on the legendary clay courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club in the most picturusque backdrop to a centre court anywhere in the world

Zeliko Franulovic, who won this tournament in 1970 beating Manuel Orantes and has worked as Director of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master for 10 years, spoke to the Italian media about the big success of this tournament among Italian fans in 2015 and the expectations for the 2016 edition.

“Our tournament attracted a record figure of 134.795 spectators last year. We were sold out from Tuesday to Sunday. No less than 40000 tickets were sold to Italian fans and I would like to thank all the fans by holding our press conference in Milan. Last year 15 of the top 16 seeds reached the third round. The past edition was highlighted by many events like the mini-tennis exhibition with Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, the Draw Ceremony at Yatch Club with the presence of 2014 Monte-Carlo winner Wawrinka, the traditional “Grande Nuit du Tennis” at the Sporting Monte-Carlo with Rafa Nadal and the Players’ evening. Roger and Mirka Federer were invited for a private lunch at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco by HSH Prince Albert II and HSH Princess Charlene. We held a humanitarian exhibition thanks to the initiative of 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic. The profits were donated to Monaco charities”, said Franulovic.

“ We had an excellent television coverage thanks around the world. We want to thank our French television partners Canal + and France Television which broadcast the semifinals and the final. We want to thank our Italian media partners Sky Sport, La Gazzetta dello Sport and Radio Monte-Carlo for their great support. The Monte-Carlo Rolex Master was covered by 370 journalists from all over the world.

The greatest clay specialists like Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster,Gustavo Kuerten, Juan Carlos Ferrero and more recently Rafa Nadal (eight-time Monte-Carlo champion), Stan Wawrinka (winner in 2014) and Novak Djokovic (winner twice in 2013 and 2015) have won on the courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. In 2014 Wawrinka beat Roger Federer in the all-Swiss final to claim the first Master 1000 of his career. Djokovic beat Tomas Berdych in the 2015 edition with 7-5 4-6 6-3 to win the 23rd Master 1000 title of his career.

“We have not a big site. What we are trying to do is to work on the quality of the event, on improving the service for the players. For the next edition we will build a very modern gym for players. We expect the top-10 players will take part in the next edition. We are lucky because our tournament is held in spring and players are still in good form and are eager to play”

!Our tournament was a lucky event for Novak Djokovic, who won two of the last three editions and for Wawrinka, who won in Monte-Carlo in 2014 and went on to take the Roland Garros in 2015. It was not a surprise that Rafa Nadal lost the title in Monaco after reigning for eight consecutive years, which is a record in itself. We are confident that Rafa will come back to his old level as long as he is healthy.  Next year the Draw  Ceremony will be held in the Oceanographic Museum which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010”, said Franulovic

Franulovic explained the difference between the 1970 edition when he triumphed and the modern Rolex Master.

“When I won this tournament there were just three courts without stands. Now we have a Centre Court named after Rainier III with a capacity of 10000 spectators”,  said Franulovic

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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