Djokovic and Alcaraz monopolize the spotlight before Monte-Carlo

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Monte-Carlo (Principality of Monaco) (AFP) – Novak Djokovic hopes to recover on better training for his decision on the vacuna against covid-19 and the youngster Carlos Alcaraz hopes to follow on this cuento de hadas: ambos son de entrada los grandes atractivos del Masters 1000 de Montecarlo, que arranca on Sunday.

From April 10 to 17, the Principality of Monaco is hosting this traditional first major event of the European clay court season.

It will be with the public, who will return after a canceled 2020 edition and one in 2021 disputed behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

Djokovic and Alcaraz, yes, they will not be able to face each other in the final. In the photo, they would cross paths in a possible quarter-final.

The Serbian player wants to show that he remains focused despite everything he has been through in recent months, including an expulsion from Australia after days of legal dispute.

After that soap opera in Melbourne, which made world headlines for days, Djokovic was only able to play in February in Dubai, where he was beaten in the third round. In the United Arab Emirates, he was not required to be vaccinated to enter the country.

The world number one was unable to go on the American hard court tour recently (Indian Wells and Miami) and he will now try to turn the page on these notorious absences.

On Monday, Djokovic will enter his 365th week as number one in the ATP rankings. In four months, he has barely played three games, since the Davis Cup semi-final that Serbia lost to Croatia.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (2nd L) arrives at Melbourne Airport on January 16, 2022 to depart Australia. Mell Chun AFP/Files

Without Nadal, Alcaraz deludes itself

Rafael Nadal took the opportunity to win the Australian Open and take the record for Grand Slam titles to 21.

Nadal, eleven-time Monte-Carlo champion, is not taking part in this year’s tournament, one of his favourites, due to a crack in the rib, which prevents him from doing so and immediately conditions his preparation for Roland Garros.

Spanish supporters now dream of Carlos Alcaraz, the 18-year-old prodigy who has just been crowned in another major tournament, that of Miami.

In one year, the Murcian has gone from 133rd to 11th place in the world rankings.

After falling in three sets in the Indian Wells semi-final against Nadal, the title in Miami was the first Masters 1000 for Alcaraz, who now hopes to win the second, without delay.

Besides Nadal, the Monegasque tournament will not have two other illustrious injured, the Russian Daniil Medvedev and the Italian Matteo Berrettini.

It also gave Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is fifth in the world and coming off a low-key US fast lane tour, more options, dropping in the third round in Indian Wells and eighth (against Alcaraz) in Miami.

But clay is the favorite surface of the Hellenes. There he won last year in Monte Carlo, his first Masters 1000, and was runner-up at Roland Garros, where he won two sets to nil against Djokovic in the final.

Tsitsipas is in the middle of a draw with the German Alexander Zverev (3rd), whom he could face in the semi-finals, provided that he beats the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in a possible quarter-final and that the German makes the same against the Russian Andrey. Rublev (8th), finalist of the last edition.

goodbye taste

Another eagerly awaited player on the slopes of the Monte-Carlo Country Club, the Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka, who won the title there in 2014, then beating his compatriot Roger Federer in the final.

Wawrinka, a former world No. 3 who has now fallen to No. 236 in the world, is trying to return to competition after a year spent in the care of a left foot injury, which has dragged on since 2019.

But at 37, this return to the front line seems unlikely: the triple winner of Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open 2014, Roland Garros 2015, US Open 2016) lost at the Marbella Challenger in March against Swede Elias Ymer. (131st).

This edition of the Monte-Carlo tournament will also mark the beginning of the farewell of French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (former world number 5), who announced this week to retire after Roland Garros.

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