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Despite Later Date, Rotterdam Tennis Boasts Another Great Field: Nadal, Medvedev, Monfils, Tsitsipas, Goffin ,Wawrinka and More Stars

Rafael Nadal will return to Rotterdam for the first time since his 2009 run to the final.

By Ricky Dimon

The ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam traditionally occupies a February spot on the calendar. However, with the Australian Open pushed back three weeks and the Indian Wells Masters postponed, Rotterdam has moved to early March in 2021.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. This 500-point event once again boasts an incredible field.

The initial entry list was announced earlier this week and it includes Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov, Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, and Jannik Sinner.

Nadal will be making his third appearance in Rotterdam and first since 2009, when he finished runner-up to Andy Murray.

“I am looking forward to returning to the Netherlands,” Nadal said. “It has been a long time since I went to play in Rotterdam. This year the season has a different calendar and it fits well into my schedule. It’s a tournament I like to play and hopefully be in their honor roll. I hope to see again all my Dutch friends and fans in Rotterdam.”
The world No. 2 can potentially overtake Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings the week after Rotterdam ends. If it happens, Nadal could at least temporarily prevent Djokovic from breaking Roger Federer’s record for total weeks at No. 1. Federer has been No. 1 for 310 weeks throughout his career, while the Serb sits at 305.

“I swear to you I didn’t know that in Rotterdam I could be No. 1 in the world,” Nadal assured. “The goal of being No. 1 is not related to the tournaments that I plan. Years ago, maybe I thought about it; now, I don’t. It is never the objective directly; if the results are good to get there, fantastic and (I will be) super happy. But I signed up in Rotterdam because Indian Wells is not (being) played.”

Rotterdam tournament director Richard Krajicek (L), the Mayor of Rotterdam Achmed Aboutaleb (C) and Rafael Nadal (R) attend the opening of the 100th tennis playground of the Richard Krajicek Foundation in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in November 2012.

It would be wise of Nadal not to prioritize the top ranking in Rotterdam, because it certainly isn’t likely. The Spaniard would have to lead his country to the ATP Cup title next week, win the Australian Open, and also win Rotterdam. Even if all of that comes to fruition, Djokovic could still maintain the No. 1 spot by entering a post-Aussie Open tournament. The Serb cannot gain points at either the ATP Cup or at the season’s first Grand Slam, because he won both in 2020.

As for the rest of the Rotterdam field, Monfils is the two-time defending champion. The Frenchman took down Wawrinka in the 2019 final before getting the best of Felix Auger-Aliassime in last year’s championship match. Monfils and Wawrinka are the only two former champions in the current field (the Swiss lifted the trophy in 2015).

Medvedev is making his fourth trip to the ABN AMRO. He reached the quarterfinals in his 2018 debut and the semis in 2019 before losing in round one to Vasek Pospisil last February. Tsitsipas is just 1-3 lifetime in the Rotterdam main draw. Rublev has been a quarterfinalist in each of his two previous main-draw appearances.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.