Monte Carlo Masters Preview

By Jürgen Fritz, So. 11. Apr 2021, Cover picture: US Open

In the 2021 ATP Race, Novak Djokovic is just ahead of Daniil Medvedev in first position, Rublev and Tsitsipas are in third and fourth, Zverev in eighth. Rafael Nadal has played only one tournament this year and is ranked 33nd in the live race, but that could change in the next eight days as the first major clay-court tournament begins today in Monte Carlo.

This is how the ATP Race looks before Monte Carlo

At the moment, the ATP Race to Turin looks like this:

  1. Novak Djoković2,140 points, match record: 9-0
  2. Daniil Medvedev: 2,130 points, match record: 17-3
  3. Andrey Rublev: 1,800 points, match record: 20-4
  4. Stefanos Tsitsipas: 1,540 points, match record: 175
  5. Hubert Hurkacz: 1,395 points, match record: 14-5
  6. Aslan Karatsev: 1,310 points, match record: 13-3
  7. Jannik Sinner: 995 points, match record: 14-5
  8. Alexander Zverev: 935 points, match record: 9-5


In position nine and ten we see:

  9. Roberto Bautista Agut: 765 points, match record: 12-8
10. Alexander Bublik: 630 points, match record: 15-8

Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer have had a very weak start to the new year. They are ranked as follows in the ATP Race of 12.04.2021:

33. Rafael Nadal: 360 points, match record: 41
43. Domonic Thiem: 275 points, match record: 5–4
214. Roger Federer: 45 points, match record: 1–1

But in just eight days the ATP Race will look very different, because the Masters 1000 tournament (C) starts today in Monte Carlo. The winner of Monte Carlo will receive 1,000 points (the finalist 600, the semi-finalists 360, the quarter-finalists 180, the eighth-finalists 90 …), half as much as for winning one of the four Grand Slam tournaments (A).

This is how the draw looks

Two-time Monte Carlo winner Novak Djokovic, Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner are all in the first eighth of the draw, which means they will take points off each other. Only one of the three can make it to the quarterfinals. The tournament will be played in a 56-player main draw, which means that the eight top-ranked players in the ATP ranking will have a free round in R64 and will go straight to R32. There, Djokovic will immediately face Sinner in his first match (if he does not lose his first round match in R64).

The winner of this match will then meet Hurkacz in the round of 16, provided he is not eliminated in the first two rounds. In the quarter-finals, Djokovic could then meet Alexander Zverev (2nd eighth) and in the semi-finals Stefanos Tsitsipas (3rd eighth) or Matteo Berrittini (4th eighth).

In the lower half, a possible quarter-final would be Andrey Rublev (5th eighth) against 11-time Monte Carlo champion and tournament favourite No. 1 Rafael Nadal (6th eighth) and Diego Schwartzman (7th eighth) against Daniil Medvedev (8th eighth).

The following matches could take place in the round of 16:

  1. Djokovic / Sinner – Hurkacz
  2. Goffin – Sonego / Fucsovics / Zverev
  3. Tsitsipas / Karatsev – Garin / Auger-Aliassime
  4. Monfils – de Minaur / Berrittini
  5. Rublev – Fritz / Bautista Agut
  6. Dimitrov / Bublik – Nadal
  7. Schwartzman – Khachanov / Carreno Busta
  8. Fognini – Medvedev

Favourites to win the tournament

The two big tournament favourites are Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, ahead of Medvedev and Tsitsipas. This is how much you get as a win rate for 100 euros, US dollars or British pounds if that player wins Monte Carlo:

  1. Rafael Nadal: 185
  2. Novak Djokovic: 375
  3. Stefanos Tsitsipas: 1,650
  4. Daniil Medvedev: 1,700
  5. Alexander Zverev: 2,100
  6. Andrey Rublev: 2,200
  7. Diego Schwartzman: 3,300
  8. Jannik Sinner: 5,100
  9. Roberto Bautista Agut: 5,500
  10. Matteo Berrittini: 7,000

Both Nadal and Djokovic have not played a tournament since the Australian Open in mid-February. Nadal had already had back problems since the end of January, beginning of February, still entered the Australian Open, but cancelled all tournaments before and after. And Djokovic tore his abdominal muscle at the AO and then struggled through the tournament to win. He hasn’t played a match since then either. And that is the reason why Nadal and Djokovic are the two top favourites:

Active players: Single titles on clay

  1. Rafael Nadal: 60
  2. Novak Djokovic: 15
  3. Roger Federer: 11
  4. Tommy Robredo: 11
  5. Dominic Thiem: 10
  6. Fabio Fognini: 8
  7. Stan Wawrinka: 7

Titles on clay

Rafael Nadal has already won 60 tournaments on clay, Djokovic 15. While Federer (39 years old) and Robredo (38) are unlikely to add to their eleven titles on clay, the situation is quite different for Nadal (34), Djokovic (33) and Thiem (27). The end has not yet been reached for them.

Active players: match record on clay

Nadal, Djokovic and Federer were certainly the three best clay court players of the last 15 years. Dominic Thiem has joined them in the last five years:

  1. Rafael Nadal: 91.8 %
  2. Novak Djokovic: 80.1 %
  3. Roger Federer: 76.1 %
  4. Dominic Thiem: 75.1 %
  5. Juan Martin del Potro: 70.6 %
  6. Alexander Zverev: 70.0 %
  7. Andy Murray: 69.5 %
  8. Kei Nisihikori: 69.1 %

Clay Singles win %

Thiem and Federer are missing in Monte Carlo, so will fall even further behind in the race. Dominic Thiem, No. 4 in the 24-month ATP rankings, has been in a serious form crisis since January and wants to start the sand season the week after Monte Carlo at the E tournament in Belgrade (ATP 250). Roger Federer, still No. 7 in the 24-month ATP ranking, does not yet feel strong enough after his long injury and does not want to start the clay season until May at the C tournament in Madrid (Masters 1000).

Performance on clay in the last 24 months

If we look at the top favourites for Monte Carlo, we can see, also in the last 24 months Nadal and Djokovic dominated here on clay, ahead of Dominic Thiem:

  1. Nadal: 30-4 ==> 7.5 wins per loss ==> 88.1 % win rate
  2. Djokovic: 27-4 ==> 6.75 wins per loss ==> 87.1 %
  3. Thiem: 27-7 ==> 3.86 wins per loss ==> 79.4 %
  4. Tsitsipas: 27-8 ==> 3.38 wins per loss ==> 77.1 %
  5. Schwartzman: 38-12 ==> 3.17 wins per loss ==> 76.0 %
  6. Berrittini: 16-6 ==> 2.67 wins per loss ==> 72.7 %
  7. Rublev: 14-6 ==> 2.33 wins per loss ==> 70.0 %
  8. Zverev: 19-9 ==> 2.11 wins per loss ==> 67.9 %
  9. Sinner: 10-7 ==> 1.43 wins per loss ==> 58.8 %
  10. Medvedev: 8-7 ==> 1.14 wins per loss ==> 53.3 % win rate


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