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Tennis Stars Return for Monte-Carlo Masters, Rafa Nadal Seeded Third Behind Djokovic and Medvedev

By Ricky Dimon

Under normal circumstances, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters generally features the weakest field of all Masters 1000s because it is not a required event. This year, however, it is arriving on the schedule after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was cancelled for a second straight season and the Miami Open was without Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Dominic Thiem, among many others. By comparison, next festivities in Monte-Carlo will boast an embarrassment of riches.

Although Federer is still training instead of playing tournaments and Thiem is not 100 percent physically, both Djokovic and Nadal are returning to action for their first clay-court tournament of the 2021 campaign. Interestingly, they could face each other as early as the semifinals because Daniil Medvedev recently passed the Spaniard at No. 2 in the world and will therefore be the second seed.

Another interesting point to note is that Djokovic, Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, and others who have residences in Monte-Carlo will be able to stay in their own homes despite certain quarantine restrictions. Nadal will be at the players hotel with the non-residents.

“Happy to be back home,” Medvedev wrote in a recent post on Instagram, which showed him training on clay with an exercise ball. “Getting ready for (the) clay season.”

The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion has been training at the Mouratoglou Academy, which is less than an hour’s drive to the Monte-Carlo Country Club along the French coast.

Federer and Thiem are the only members of the top 10 currently absent from the entry lost. If everyone else stays in, this will be an impressive field for the Monte-Carlo event. It would include not only Djokovic, Nadal, Medvedev, and Zverev, but also Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman, Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz, and Miami runner-up Jannik Sinner.

Rising star Lorenzo Musetti, a 19-year-old Italian, has been given a wild card.

Federer, Denis Shapovalov, and Milos Raonic are the only top 20 players who never entered the tournament. Thiem was originally planning to play but then pulled out. Joining the Austrian on the withdrawal list are Stan Wawrinka, Borna Coric, John Isner, Reilly Opelka, and Kei Nishikori.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.