by Romano Lupi MONACO. It is the first of three ATP 1000 World Tour Masters tournaments played on clay. The 112e edition will take place from 14 to 22 April 2018. The tournament is a player and fan favourite due to its magnificent location, the Monte-Carlo Country Club, which offers one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean and long tradition of champions. The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters is one of the most famous and prestigious major sporting events in international tennis. The first major European tournament in the prestigious ATP World Tour Masters 1000 category, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters is rebroadcast in 66 countries across 5 continents. Last year, Rafael Nadal won the tournament and collected his 10th victory here. Who will be the winner in 2018? Spain’s Rafael Nadal won an Open-Era record eight successive titles there between 2005-2012. In 2013, the defending champion was runner-up in the 2013 final that was won by Diokovic 6-2, 7-6. In the 2014 the Tournament was won by Wawrinka and Nadal didn’t get the semi-finals. After Nole beat Rafa in the 2015 semi-final 6-3, 6-3, Nadal’s retaliation came, winning the tournament two times in a row. Last year the defending champion successfully defended the 2016 title, defeating Albert Ramos Viñolas in the final, 6–1, 6–3. With this win, Nadal claimed an Open Era record 50th clay-court title as well as his 10th title at Monte Carlo, becoming the first man in the Open Era to win 10 titles at the same tournament.
Last February, it was in the Salle America of the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort that the Tournament Director, Zeljko Franulovic, revealed the major moments of the 2018 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters organised by the SMETT (Société Monégasque pour l’Exploitation du Tournoi de Tennis). After having announced the new name “Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters”, which emphasises the very close ties between the tournament and its Title Sponsor Rolex, Zeljko Franulovic presented, in exclusivity, the 2018 tournament poster, created by the talented British artist, Andrew Davidson, who has already designed the previous eight posters for the event.
“Last year, we once again benefitted from an exceptional player field with the participation of 17 out of 20 of the best world players, including the No.1 A. Murray, No.2 N. Djokovic, and No.3 S. Wawrinka as well as most of the rising stars on the world tennis scene. It was an edition that beat all records. Helped by exceptional weather conditions, the tournament recorded an unprecedented number of spectators with a total of 135,809. The event was fully sold out from the Monday to Sunday on all five competition courts. A very first for us!”. The Tournament Director also mentioned Rafael Nadal. “Ranked No.5 at the moment of the Tournament last year, (whereas today is world No.2) he won the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the tenth time, before going on to win in Barcelona, Madrid and, in particular, took a tenth title at Roland-Garros before winning the US Open”. The Société des Bains de Mer, the institutional partner of the Tournament, wished to pay tribute to this immense champion by naming one of the suites at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort after him.
The just as exceptional final list of the 45 players directly accepted to the Main Draw has been disclosed on 22nd March 2018. In the top 10 we count the defending champion Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic who won 17 ATP singles titles, including the 2014 US Open, Grigor Dimitrov climbing steadily the classement, the just twenty years old Alexander Zverev, the promising Dominic Thiem (22 years old), David Goffin, and Lucas Pouille. In the Top 20 the 12 Grand Slams winner Novak Djokovic follows, together with Tomas Berdych, Roberto Bautista Agut, Diego Schwartzman”El Peque”, the Ligurian Fabio Fognini, and Pablo Carreno Busta. “Once again this year, and despite a rather tricky start of season for some of them, Zeljko Franulovic said, “we are welcoming 45 best world players.
We advise tennis fans to reserve their seats as quickly as possible on the official site (www.rolexmontecarlomasters.mc), because, as every year, some days are already fully booked. It will be in the symbolic setting of the Atrium of the Casino that the Draw Ceremony will take place on Friday 13 April at 6.30 pm. An intense week is in store, as much on the court as off, with numerous activities and events, such as Kids’ Day on Sunday 15 April, the traditional Grande Nuit du Tennis, held in the Salle des Etoiles on Friday 20 April at 8.00 pm and the private players’ party which has been an exclusivity of the tournament for almost 60 years. In perpetuating its commitment in this field, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters will be organising an exhibition match in favour of the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco, on Court Rainier III, on Saturday 14 April, with the participation of the best tournament players, all committed to the protection of the environment. The Rolex Monte-Carlo Master looks forward to welcoming you from 14 to 22 April 2018 for the kick-off of the European Clay Season!