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Djokovic, Alcaraz, Sinner headline Monte-Carlo


The first clay-court ATP Masters 1000 of the season kicks off at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Two-time Monte-Carlo titlist Novak Djokovic is the top seed, with Andrey Rublev the defending champion. Jannik Sinner will look to continue his standout year on the clay, while Carlos Alcaraz is set to make his second appearance in the Principality.

Here are 10 things to watch this week.

1) Can Djokovic return to his best? Since winning his second Monte-Carlo crown in 2015, Djokovic has failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals in his past seven appearances at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Chasing his first title of the season, the top seed will hope to make a fast start against Roman Safiullin or a qualifier.

2) Sinner the winning machine: Jannik Sinner holds a 22-1 record on the season and arrives in the Principality off the back of winning his second Masters 1000 crown in Miami. The 22-year-old Italian, who is 1015 points behind World No. 1 Djokovic, reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo last season. Can he capture a Tour-leading fourth title of the year this week?

3) Alcaraz looking to build momentum: Carlos Alcaraz enjoyed success during the ‘Sunshine Double’, winning the title in Indian Wells and reaching the last eight in Miami. The Spaniard, who is making just his second appearance in Monte-Carlo, has won seven tour-level titles on clay.

4) Medvedev seeks first title of season: Daniil Medvedev captured his first title on clay last season in Rome and will hope that result can spark him to great things during this year’s clay-court swing. The 28-year-old’s best result this season was a run to the final at the Australian Open, while his greatest showing in Monte-Carlo came in 2019 when he advanced to the semi-finals.

5) Defending champion Rublev: Andrey Rublev clinched his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title last season in Monte-Carlo, defeating Holger Rune in the final. The No. 6 player in the PIF ATP Rankings will begin his title defence against Alexei Popyrin or a qualifier and could play Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

6) Zverev, Rune, Ruud in action: A two-time semi-finalist in Monte-Carlo, Alexander Zverev arrives at the event of the back of a run to the last four in Miami. Dane Rune reached the title match at the clay-court tournament last year and is chasing his first title of the year this week. Ruud, who is still alive in Estoril, has clinched nine of his 10 tour-level trophies on clay. His best result in Monte-Carlo was a semi-final showing in 2021.

7) Former champions in action: Stefanos Tsitsipas has fond memories in Monte-Carlo, having won the trophy in 2021 and 2022. The Greek is currently outside the Top 10 at No. 12 and will hope a return to the Principality can help him regain his best form. The 39-year-old Wawrinka has received a wild card and starts against 11th seed Alex de Minaur. Wawrinka defeated Roger Federer in the championship match in 2014.

8) #NextGenATP star Fils competes: Arthur Fils, currently second in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah, will make his debut in Monte-Carlo. The 19-year-old Frenchman captured his only tour-level title on clay in Lyon last season.

9) Popcorn first-round matches: Lorenzo Musetti, who beat Djokovic in the third round last season, faces Taylor Fritz in the first round, while 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz takes on British lefty Jack Draper. Karen Khachanov’s match against Cameron Norrie is another first-round clash to watch.

10) Bopanna/Ebden lead doubles field: Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden lead the doubles field and will be chasing their third title of the season together after winning the Australian Open and the Miami Open presented by Itau. Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek are the defending champions, with 2022 titlists Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the draw.

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