Monte-Carlo Main Draw: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the semis, Nadal with Murray and Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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Monte-Carlo Main Draw: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the semis, Nadal with Murray and Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal pitted with a nightmare draw to clinch a 9th title in Monte-Carlo, with both Wawrinka and Murray in his half. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic could clash in the semi-finals.

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The main draw for the 2016 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the first Masters 1000 played on clay in the season, is finally out.

 

Here is the complete main draw:

(1) Djokovic bye
Vesely vs Gabashvili
Fognini vs Lorenzi
Muller vs (13) Monfils

(11) Goffin vs F.Lopez
(WC) Verdasco vs Delbonis
Zverev vs (WC) Rublev
(7) Ferrer bye

(3) Federer bye
Garcia-Lopez vs Bellucci
Chardy vs Kuznetsov
Ramos vs (14) Bautista-Agut

(9) Gasquet vs Almagro
(WC) Pouille vs Mahut
Q vs Carreno
(8) Tsonga bye

(5) Nadal bye
Rosol vs Bedene
Mannarino vs Q
Q vs (12) Thiem

(15) Simon vs Troicki
Dimitrov vs Q
Kohlschreiber vs Coric
(4) Wawrinka bye

(6) Berdych bye
Haase vs Q
Q vs Cuevas
(WC) Cecchinato vs (10) Raonic

(16) Paire vs Cervantes
Karlovic vs Sousa
Q vs Pella
(2) Murray bye

Possible third round clashes are as follows:

Djokovic-Monfils
Ferrer-Goffin
Federer-Bautista Agut
Tsonga-Gasquet
Nadal-Thiem
Wawrinka-Simon
Berdych-Raonic
Murray-Paire

Let us now analyze each quarter.

Quarter-final Djokovic vs. Ferrer

Looking for a third title in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic will make his debut in the second round against either Jiri Vesely or Teymuraz Gabashvili. Following his first match, Djokovic should meet Gael Monfils in the third round, for a clash that on clay could become spectacular. The World No.1 would then set up match-up against David Ferrer.

That said, the Spaniard could find it hard to reach the last 8 in Monte Carlo, considering how he will find already in the second round a rising star like Alexander Zverev to then possibly play against the two-time Masters 1000 semi-finalist this year, the Belgian David Goffin. Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco would try to stop Goffin from going that far.

Quarter-final Federer vs. Tsonga

Roger Federer doesn’t find a tough draw to reach the quarters. The only player who seems really able to challenge the Swiss is Roberto Bautista-Agut, even though a third round against a clay-court expert like Albert Ramos-Vinolas could seem like a trip to memory lane Roger would rather not take.

Tsonga could find a tough resistance on clay already in the second round, in the name of Pablo Carreno-Busta. In the third round Jo would find in an all-French clash his friend Richard Gasquet. Lucas Puille and Nicolas Almagro are also part of this quarter.

Quarter-final Nadal vs. Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal was pitted with a very though route to a possible 9th success in Monte-Carlo. After a possibly easy debut in the tournament against either Lukas Rosol or Aljaz Bedene, Nadal would already find a player who has beaten him on clay this year, the young gun Dominic Thiem.

Wawrinka will have a complicated path to the quarters too, having to start probably against consistent Borna Coric. Stan would then face in the third round one between Gilles Simon, Viktor Troicki and Grigor Dimitrov.

Quarter-final Berdych vs. Murray

Tomas Berdych will make his debut against Robin Haase to then set an interesting third-round match with Milos Raonic.

After his great run throughout the clay court season last year, where he won his first title and first Masters 1000 title in Madrid on the surface, Murray will face tough competition, but not clay court experts, as he will try to reach the quarters facing players such as Ivo Karlovic, Joao Sousa, Inigo Cervantes or Benoit Paire.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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‘I Hope I Can Keep Up’ – Alexander Zverev Speaks Out Ahead Of Return From Injury

After suffering a horrific accident at the French Open, the German is once again raring to go. 

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Alexander Zverev - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Alexander Zverev says he has missed his fellow rivals as he prepares to return to the court at an exhibition event in Saudi Arabia in just over a week. 

 

The former world No.2 has been absent from the sport since June after badly injuring his ankle in his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal at the French Open. A scan later revealed he had torn various ligaments in his foot and he was later diagnosed with bone edema which is where there is an abnormal amount of fluid around the bone area. He had originally hoped to return to action earlier in the season but was unable to recover in time. 

Instead, Zverev’s first taste of competitive tennis in his comeback will be at the extravagant Diriyah Tennis Cup which features 12 players with the singles champion winning $1M in prize money. 

“I’m just looking forward to being back on court and being back on a competitive court because it’s been a very long time for me,” Zverev said during an interview for the event. “The best players in the world are there so it’s gonna be a high level tournament and I think everybody’s in form because they’re still either coming from Davis Cup or they just came from the ATP Finals so everybody will still be playing great tennis and I hope I can keep up with them.”

Also playing at the event will be Stefanos Tsitsipas, Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios and Daniil Medvedev. It will be far from an easy return to action for Zverev after his lengthy absence from the sport. However, he is looking forward to being reunited with his peers. 

“I’ve also missed those guys to be honest even though we’re competitors but I have great friends there as well. You know, I missed seeing those guys on tour,” he said.
“I feel like me and Dominic (Thiem), we haven’t seen each other for almost two years now because he was injured in 2021 And I was injured in 2022. So we missed each other in a way. Yeah, so I’m just looking forward to being back on tour and I’m just looking forward to getting matches.”

Prior to his injury setback, the 25-year-old has won 29 out of 39 matches played this season with his best run being to the finals of events in Montpellier and Madrid. Out of those 29 wins, only three were against top-10 opposition.

Explaining his decision to play in Saudi Arabia, Zverev said it was important for him to play matches against the best in the world ahead of the new season. Some players have been criticized for playing in the country due to its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of sportswashing which is the process of staging sports events to improve the image of a country which has been tarnished by wrongdoing. 

“You don’t want your first event to be back in Australia, because you then feel like okay, you may be fit physically, you may be in the best shape of your life, but if you haven’t played matches in seven months, it’s still a different fitness level it is still a different, mental stress as well,” Zverev explained. 
“So you want to play before the Australian Open and I think that’s why Saudi Arabia fits in so well this year.” 

The Diriyah Tennis Cup will begin on December 8th. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaCyGMghDMM

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