Monte-Carlo Masters Preview: Djokokic eyes first title of 2022 amid big absentees
Monte Carlo Masters 2022: Preview
The third ATP Masters 1000 is all set to light up in Monaco as the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000 returns as we mark the beginning of the Clay Court season.
Like every other tournament this season, some big names will be missing while we will see the return of Novak Djokovic for the first time since the Dubai Open.
Big names like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem are some of the few names who will miss this year's inaugural Clay Court ATP Masters 1000 event.
The Serb was a big talking point in January and has been in news for more off-field issues than on-field issues.
Reluctant to take the Covid-19 vaccine jab, prevented him from competing at the Australian Open, while the Monte-Carlo Masters is just the second competitive tournament of 2022 for Novak Djokovic after playing the Dubai Open.
The Serb is a two-time champion at Monte-Carlo having won in 2013 and 2015. Novak will have the perfect opportunity to win his third title, while Nadal and other top players are missing.
Can Stefanos Tsistipas defend his crown?
Last year would have been a perfect clay-court season for Stefanos Tsistipas as he started the clay-court season by winning the Monte-Carlo and almost ended up winning French Open before Djokovic came back emphatically.
The Greek star will be determined to defend his crown after he beat Russian Andrey Rublev in the final. Another solid performance in the absence of top players will do it for Stefanos as he challenges for the big prize.
While Roger Federer remains a long-term absentee, Rafael Nadal has also withdrawn from the 2022 Monte Carlo Masters, as he missed the Miami Open as well with a rib injury.
While the Spaniard remains on the treatment table, his record 11 titles still remain a benchmark for others to clinch.
Nadal recently lost to Taylor Fritz in the final of the Indian Wells as his 20-match winning run in 2022 came to an end.
Dominic Thiem, 2020 US Open champion was anticipated to make his return, but injury setbacks and Covid-19 have prevented him from competing.
Thiem is joined by US Open champion and now former World No.1 Daniil Medvedev, who has undergone hernia surgery, is out for the next two months.
Wimbledon runners-up Matteo Berrettini is also another big name missing, as he recovers from hand surgery and will miss the Madrid and Rome ATP Masters 1000 events as well.
The likes of Miami Open runners-up Casper Ruud and Olympic Gold-Medalist Alexander Zverev will be hot favourites for the 2022 Monte Carlo Masters, but the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and Taylor Fritz will be ready to give their opposition a run for their money as they win the earlier two ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami respectively.
The likes of Hubert Hurkcaz and Felix Auger Aliassime will also have enough firepower to get over the line as the clay-court season starts.