Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Betting Tips & Predictions
The clay court season is officially upon us as the ATP Tour hits France for the 112th edition of the Monte-Carlo Masters. The event is part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series and is played on outdoor clay courts. This event is also the only Masters 1000 event to not have mandatory player commitment, and so there might be more top players absent than usual. This year the players will be competing for a prize pot of over £4.2 million, as well as crucial ranking points for the rest of the season. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is set to make his long awaited return from injury this week, as the world number one looks to win this title for an astonishing eleventh time. The Spaniard defeated compatriot Albert Ramos Vinolas in last year’s final and Nadal will need to achieve a similar result this week if he’s to remain the world number one. Who will claim the first major title of the clay court season?
Rafael Nadal has dominated this tournament over the last decade or so, winning it a record ten-times over the years. This includes a streak of eight successive titles between 2005 and 2012. In fact, Nadal has only ever lost four matches at this tournament, two of which came against two-time champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian ace won this tournament in 2013 and 2015, with his 2013 triumph coming against Nadal in the final. Nadal and Djokovic also hold the joint-record for most Masters 1000 titles won with 30, and so both will be desperate to with their 31st this week. Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka is the only other previous winner of this event since 2005, but the three-time grand slam champion is absent this week. Can anyone stop Nadal winning a third successive title here?
Last 5 Champions
2017 – Rafael Nadal
2016 – Rafael Nadal
2015 – Novak Djokovic
2014 – Stan Wawrinka
2013 – Novak Djokovic
Since this event is not mandatory for the players the number of big name absentees is larger than usual. World number two Roger Federer has opted to miss the entire clay court season again this year, as he bids to be fresh for the grass court season later this summer. Indian Wells champion Juan Martin del Potro has opted to rest over the coming weeks ahead of the next Masters events in May, while world number eight Kevin Anderson is also absent this week. The recently crowned Miami Open champion John Isner, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey and Jack Sock, have also opted against playing this week, while Next Gen champ Hyeon Chung has also decided to skip this event. 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka is also set to miss the action this week, while Australian Nick Kyrgios has also decided to take the week off after a gruelling month of tennis in America. Meanwhile, former world number one Andy Murray continues to be side-lined through injury. Despite a weakened field we should be in for an extremely entertaining week of tennis as the clay season gets underway.
Notable absentees (Ranking)
Roger Federer (2)
Juan Martin del Potro (6)
Kevin Anderson (8)
John Isner (9)
Sam Querrey (14)
Jack Sock (16)
Hyeon Chung (19)
Stan Wawrinka (21)
Rafael Nadal makes his return from injury at a tournament he has dominated over the years, and he’ll be confident of making a winning return. The Spaniard has been the undisputed ‘King of Clay’ for well over a decade now, and if last year’s clay form is anything to go by he’ll still be the man to beat this week. The Spaniard is looking for a third successive title at this tournament, following a three-year drought that saw the Spaniard fail to win this tournament between 2013 and 2016. However, Nadal has played very little tennis so far this season, with a quarter-final run at the Australian Open being the only competitive tennis the Spaniard has played this year. Nadal was forced to retire injured during that quarter-final and he’s been forced to miss the last two months due to that injury. Nonetheless, if Nadal is fit and firing this week it’ll take a mammoth effort by someone to prevent him winning an eleventh title here. Can the ‘King of Clay’ make a winning return from injury?
Austrian ace Dominic Thiem, like Nadal, produces his best tennis on clay courts and so he’ll be looking for a successful few months of tennis. Thiem is the most likely candidate to beat Nadal on this surface, with the Austrian being the only man to beat Nadal on clay throughout the whole of last season. However, this has been Thiem’s weakest clay court event over recent years, with his best run here being a couple of third round appearances. Thiem has already won one clay title this season at the Argentina Open and despite missing the Miami Open through injury the Austrian will be extremely difficult to beat this week. This is the period of the season where Thiem plays his best tennis, can he take advantage of all the absentees and win a first Masters title?
Two-time champion Novak Djokovic has been struggling over recent months, with the twelve-time grand slam champion yet to record a victory since January. The Serbian ace suffered back-to-back first match defeats in Indian Wells and Miami last month and so he won’t be coming here with a whole lot of confidence. American great Andre Agassi has also left Djokovic’s coaching team in recent weeks, something which is sure to have been a distraction for Djokovic. Nonetheless, Djokovic knows what it takes to win this title and he’ll be hoping to replicate the kind of form that saw him lift this title most recently in 2015. Can Djokovic return to form this week?
Alexander Zverev returned to form at the Miami Open, as the twenty-year-old put a disappointing start to the season behind him with a run to the final. Zverev, who has already won two Masters titles in his career, just missed out on a third as American John Isner battled back from a set down to see off the young German. Nonetheless, the run in Miami is a welcome return to form for the world number four who has now gone eight months without winning a title on the tour. Can Zverev go all the way this week and win a first title of 2018?
Milos Raonic looks to be rediscovering some of his best tennis, following nearly a year of injury struggles. The Canadian reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals in Indian Wells and Miami, respectively, and was only beaten by an inform Juan Martin del Potro in both. Raonic is a former Wimbledon finalist and if he’s on his game then he’ll be extremely dangerous this week. Raonic has reached the quarter-finals in his last three appearances here, but he’ll looking to improve on those runs this year. Can Raonic claim a maiden clay court title?
World number three Marin Cilic will be disappointed with his form coming into this tournament, with the Croatian struggling to kick on following his run to the Australian Open final in January. The 2014 US Open champion has won only three matches since that run to the final, with all of his defeats being in straight-sets with little fight shown. However, the Croatian has reached the quarter-finals in his last two appearances here and he will be happy with the draw he’s been handed this week. Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov is another player who’s been struggling of late. The Bulgarian ace has won just one of his last four matches, something he’s going to need to address over the next few weeks. Dimitrov has also struggled here in recent years, with successive second round defeats in his last two visits to the tournament. Nonetheless, the Bulgarian proved last season that’s he’s capable of winning a Masters title, can he claim his second in two seasons?
David Goffin made a disappointing return from injury at the Miami Open, as the Belgian was beaten in his opening match. Goffin has had no luck with injuries over the past year or so, but he’s proved that if he can stay fit then he’s capable of beating anyone. The world number ten reached the semi-finals here twelve months ago and so that should give him confidence heading into this year’s tournament. Can Goffin better last year’s run and claim a first Masters title?
Meanwhile, Argentine Diego Schwartzman is a player improving all the time. The Argentine moved into the world’s top sixteen in the rankings recently, as well as claiming a second ATP title in Rio. Schwartzman is a very dangerous clay court player and, given a good draw this week, he could be a player to capitalize on all the absentees and reach a first ever Masters final. Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas is another player who plays his best tennis on a clay court, something he highlighted by reaching this final twelve months ago. The Spaniard has struggled in recent months, but a good run here would be a welcome return to form for the thirty-year-old. Who will come through the pack and claim the Monte-Carlo Masters title in 2018?
Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay, and I see him underlining that fact by claiming an unbelievable eleventh Monte-Carlo title. Nadal raises his game to another level when he plays on clay, and when he does no one in the world can live with him. Nadal is returning from injury here so it will be interesting to see if he’s physically ready for the gruelling clay court season ahead, if he is then he’ll be the favourite to win all the tournaments over the next couple of months, starting with this one. Nadal has been drawn in the same quarter as Djokovic and Thiem, arguably his two biggest threats for the title, and if he can navigate through it I can’t see anyone stopping him.
Diego Schwartzman Each-Way
I like the way Diego Schwartzman plays on clay, and I think he could be set for a good week of tennis here. The twenty-five-year-old has been drawn in the easier half of the draw and he should fancy his chances of having a good run this week. Schwartzman has already claimed one title on clay this year, at the Rio Open. The Argentine is playing the best tennis of his career right now, and he’s now up to a career high number fifteen in the rankings, something which is sure to give him a confidence boost heading into this tournament. Schwartzman reached the quarter-finals here twelve months ago, but this year he’ll be looking for a breakthrough run that sees him claim a first Masters title here at the Monte-Carlo Masters.