Monte-Carlo Men’s Major Tournament

The 4th Major Tournament on the ATP Tour in 2010 is the Monte Carlo Open. Since 1928 Monte-Carlo has been held in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in France (which borders on Monaco), even though it is said to take place in Monaco. This event is called the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the 2nd straight year and will be played from Saturday 10 April through to the Men’s Singles Final, which will be held on Sunday 18 April.

Monte-Carlo is one of the most important tournaments on the ATP Tour because it is one of the 9 prestigious ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. Monte-Carlo is held at the Monte-Carlo Country Club and it is the first of the 4 major clay court tournaments of the year.

The Masters 1000 category events have a total financial commitment of 4.5 million US dollars. To put it into perspective, in terms of the world famous Grand Slam tournaments, the winner of Monte-Carlo earns more ATP ranking points than a player who makes it to a Grand Slam semi final.

The Monte-Carlo main draw ceremony will be held on Saturday 10 April at 12 noon (local time), in the VIP Village. The last two wild cards for the main draw must be announced before the draw takes place. Monte-Carlo management routinely holds off announcing the wild cards until the last minute. This is because each year players like Federer in 2009 and Murray in 2010 (who did not enter Monte-Carlo), decide they need more matches after not doing as well at the Indian Wells Open and the Miami Open as they had expected.

This tournament began in 1897 and has been an Open event since 1969. The singles main draw consists of 56 players. There are 4 main draw wild cards and 7 spots reserved for qualifiers. The qualifying draw will have 28 players which means that you need to win 2 matches in a row in order to qualify.

ONLY the Top 8 seeds will receive a BYE in the 1st round and there will be 16 seeded players. Therefore only 48 players play in the 1st round with the 24 winners joining the Top 8 seeds in the 2nd round.

The ATP rankings as of March 8, 2010 were used to determine which players would be accepted into the singles main draw. There were 45 direct acceptances, with the final acceptance being World No.51 Michael Berrer of Germany. The ranking of the last person to be directly accepted into the main draw becomes the cut-off for that event. The cut-off is a good indicator of the strength of the tournament, with Monte-Carlo being a very strong tournament as only 5 of the Top 51 ranked men’s players in the world are missing (see below for details of Murray’s wild card).

2 of the wild cards have been announced so far. They went to World No.74 Richard Gasquet of France and World No.4 Andy Murray of Scotland. Murray did not enter the event initially but has since asked for a wild card to allow him to participate, just as Roger Federer did last year.

Murray has not had the results he hoped for at Indian Wells and Miami. He made the semi finals at Monte-Carlo last year so needs to defend these points to prevent his ranking dropping any further. Murray dropped to No.4 after Miami because he lost his first match 6-4 6-4 to a player ranked outside the Top 100, despite winning Miami in 2009.

Last year the No.1 seed Rafael Nadal won Monte-Carlo by defeating Novak Djokovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in the final. Nadal became the first player ever to win an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title for 5 years in a row. The Spaniard won 1,000 ATP ranking points for that victory whilst Djokovic, the No.3 seed, won 600 ATP ranking points as the runner-up.

Nadal, who is pictured above preparing to play his double handed backhand drive, beat Murray in the 2009 Monte-Carlo semi finals and Ivan Ljubicic in the quarter finals. Djokovic defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in the semis and Fernando Verdasco in the quarters. The other 2 quarter finalists were Nikolay Davydenko who lost to Murray and (Q) Andreas Beck who lost to Wawrinka.

Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about Monte-Carlo. Click this link for more details including the upcoming Schedule of Play -> Monte-Carlo 2010: April 10-18.

Today’s POST is dedicated to Johan Kriek. Kriek was born on this day in 1958 and he won 2 Grand Slam singles titles. The South African won the Australian Open back to back in 1981-82. He first achieved his highest career ranking of World No.7 on 10 September 1984.

© 2010

Creative Commons License photo credit: y.caradec

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