Monte Carlo: Draw Analysis

DelPo faces a pretty tough draw at MC.  His potential route to the final: BYE – R2 Tomic/Dolgo – R3 Raonic/Benneteau – QF Djokovic – SF Gasquet/Berdych – F Nadal/Murray.

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He debuted a new hedgehog haircut, as he had a training session with Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil (Bellucci works with an Argentinean coach, Daniel Orsanic):

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Rafa, the 8-time champion at Monte Carlo, presided over the Monte Carlo draw ceremony (he ran an hour late).  Djokovic, whose participation at MC had been in doubt due to his injured ankle, confirmed his participation in the tournament.  He will play as the top seed.

As for DelPo, his potential R2 match against Tomic will be an interesting one, as it would mark the first time he faces the Aussie youngster.  Clay is Tomic’s weakest surface and he lost in R2 to Dolgopolov last year.  Meanwhile, DelPo has a 3-0 H2H against Dolgopolov (including a straight-sets win over the Ukrainean last year at the Madrid QF).

DelPo’s potential R3 match with Milos Raonic would also be their first match-up.  The no. 15-ranked Canadian has been the most consistent player of the younger crop, but clay is also one of Raonic’s weaker surfaces.  Raonic lost in R2 at MC last year to Montanes and he also had early losses at Madrid and Rome.  The hope is that DelPo “pulls a Gasquet” at Monte Carlo and puts the youngsters in their place (Gasquet defeated Tomic and Janowicz at Indian Wells).  DelPo has solid clay-court credentials (on clay, among active pros, the ATP reliability zone ranks him no. 3 in the current index and no. 4 in the career index), so he will be the favorite going into these early matches.

That said, DelPo will face an early challenge at MC in the likely match-ups with Tomic and Raonic.  He will have to find his form quickly.  The reward would be a QF match-up with Djokovic, whom DelPo defeated in an impressive three sets at the Indian Wells SF.  However, Djokovic has won both of the matches he’s played on clay against DelPo (2009 Rome QF, 2011 Roland Garros R3).  DelPo did take Djokovic to 4 sets at Roland Garros and it was a closely fought match, so this potential QF has a good chance of being entertaining.


Other News from the Sideline:

  • Here’s an entertaining look at the nicknames Chinese tennis fans have for the top ATP players: Apparently, Chinese fans refer to DelPo as “da-shi-xiong,” a term that is used in kung-fu movies to refer to the “Big Brother.”  Gasquet has a hilarious nickname, “doufu” (tofu), which is a reference to the smooth qualities of Gasquet’s tennis game, combined with his tendency to be … a bit soft in the head.
  • Roger Federer Reminds Us His Greatness Extends Beyond Tennis: This week’s sports headlines have been dominated by the Augusta National.  Golf star Tiger Woods stirred up a media firestorm, after he made his 2nd round drop a full two yards away from the original position, which carries a threat of disqualification.  Tiger Woods alleges he was not aware of the rule (either that or he was unaware he had broken the rule) and he avoided disqualification with a 2-shot penalty.  This is a timely reminder that true GOATs know their rules.  True GOATs follow the rules.  Hear it from King Roger himself!


“Stop showing me the hand, OK?  Don’t tell me to be quiet, OK?  When  I want to talk, I talk alright?  I don’t give a sh-t what he said.  I’m just saying he’s waiting too long.  Don’t f-cking tell me the rules.  I was not allowed to challenge like two [points] ago after 1 second, he takes 10 seconds.  You guys got rules, right?”

The ambient lounge music that the on-court DJ plays in the background as Fed lectures Jake Garner is what made this a truly epic moment.  Tiger Woods could learn a thing or two from Fed about sassy, benevolent leadership.


About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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11 Responses to Monte Carlo: Draw Analysis

  1. Candy says:

    There are quite a few Chinese nicknames for Delpo. Actually, the most popular one is “Pineapple”. Delpo’s Mandarin Chinese name is “De Er Bo Te Luo” (Del Potro). The “Bo” & “Luo” in his Chinese name share the same pronunciation of “Pineapple” (“Bo Luo”) in Chinese. They used to call him “Xiao Bo Luo” (Little Pineapple) when he was very young. Now they call him “Da Bo Luo” (Big Pineapple), because he’s grown up. 😉

    The nickname “Da Shi Xiong” (senior fellow apprentice/ big brother) comes, mainly because Delpo (with his hairy style) looks like the Monkey, who is the Da Shi Xiong among the three apprentices the monk has, in a TV series “Journey to the West”. ;D There are also some extended meanings to some Delpo’s fans.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      LOL DelPo’s nickname is also Pineapple? I love that. Maybe that means he will play well at Wimbledon this year b/c Wimbledon has a pineapple trophy! I’ll have to remember the Chinese pronunciation now. There must be quite a few tennis fans in China/Hong Kong. I barely know of anyone here in Korea who watches tennis closely enough to know of any other player besides the big names. Vamos Da Bo Luo! 😉

      I haven’t seen the “Journey to the West” TV series but I think the description of DelPo has a hairy big brother type figure is kind of hilarious! Haha, the Chinese nicknames for tennis players are pretty awesome. They definitely have some fun ones for DelPo!! Basically, he’s a big hairy pineapple 😀

  2. says:

    Of all the tournaments, this one is my dream venue. What I wouldn’t give to be there. We’re all thrilled to see Delpo back sooner than previously announced. He can use the practice for Estoril and the getaway from ARG where the last few months have been filled with unfortunate drama. We rejoice that the family medical crisis seems to be over for now.
    With Pico and Zeballos also there, it will be interesting to see if they end up playing against Juan. Are they keeping their distance off court? How sad to see Juan and his lifelong friend Pico on opposite sides of the Davis Cup dust up; I’m just glad Nalby isn’t there to stoke the flame. Pico’s wisely kept silent but Horacio opened his big mouth at the post-match presser when they upset Germany. Will the boys put their egos aside to enjoy the delights of Monte Carlo? I can’t wait to see some compromising pictures – or audio. LOL
    We’ll see if Nole shows up, he has a few more days to rest/test the ankle. Does he need to take any chances? Nadal is so hungry to win and Nole doesn’t need it.
    BTW, I couldn’t get the vid of Roger to play, is there a link to the source? Merci.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Hi, how are you doing? Long time, no see. Did you get the chance to attend the Miami tournament? I guess there weren’t too many chances of seeing DelPo, given his early exit, but I hope you had fun if you had the chance to attend!

      I much prefer Estoril over Monte Carlo! MC is definitely a scenic venue but DelPo’s triumphs at Estoril make that tournament all the more dear to me 🙂 It’s pretty surprising DelPo decided to play MC year, but I guess the WC invitation was tough to turn down.

      I think the DC drama is mostly between DelPo and Nalbandian (with Zeballos in a sidekick role). Pico and Berlocq seem to be uninvolved — my guess is they’re just letting DelPo and Nalby figure it out on their own. Pico lost to Isner at Houston, so that will give him more time to prepare at MC. It’s a shame Pico’s been having a rough season.

      Novak’s playing the tournament for sure. I heard he was training with an ankle brace. I guess we’ll know after his early matches whether the ankle injury was serious or not. My guess is it was more of an initial scare, but the worst has passed. Rafa fans seem pretty upset about that, lol!

      *I changed the video source for Federer (the previous one may have been geo-blocked). I hope this new video works! (Let me know if it doesn’t)

      • Iram says:

        Am I missing out on reading something completely? I follow ur blog regularly, but with reply to ‘audiesgirl’…u make it seem like there was some kind of “hickup” between Delpo and the other Davis Cup teammates- maybe I’m not understanding it?! I’m having a tough time trying to think that JMDP doesn’t get along with all his countrymen.
        I think this is another one for Rafa. He’s just to good at this venue…and he gets so much support here. It’s how he really starts off the clay season-usually with getting this title.
        I liked seeing that pic u posted of Berlocq on the bus. He’s not gonna have another important win like that (or it is a very low chance), and he needs to relish in the moment. 🙂 Props to him…and Argentina. I so hope they win this year. I’m rooting for them.
        And lastly, even though its not tennis related, what did u think of the UEFA Champions draw. Do u like RM’s chance of getting to the finals? I so hope they do. t c
        thanks for posting

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Unfortunately, DelPo and Nalbandian have had problems since 2008 (when they lost to Spain at home in the final). When Argentina lost to the Czechs in the SF last year, Nalbandian and captain Martin Jaite (who is close to Nalby) had a few disagreements with DelPo. DelPo was also slow to communicate with the team. I covered the drama in a post last year ( This “hiccup” is partly why DelPo won’t be playing any DC ties this year. It’s quite unfortunate, but there’s always been a lot of tension within Team Argentina 😦 DelPo gets along well with all the Argentinean players, but Davis Cup tends to bring out drama.

          I’m glad you liked that photo of Berlocq on the firetruck! I thought it was a sweet moment for him, especially after a huge win like that. To think that a player who’s made his way from the Challengers would defeat a no. 13-ranked player in the deciding rubber at home is a huge accomplishment, especially for an Argentinean! I hope he relishes this moment, esp since Argentina have a very tough SF ahead against the Czechs (the Czechs play at home, likely on the same indoor HCs that they used to beat Spain last year :(). I hope they can pull off a small miracle to reach the final. That would be grand.

          I like RM’s chance of reaching the final, but it’s tough to tell! I hope they can find their focus, b/c it’s definitely doable. Barca will have a tougher time against Bayern (I’m a fan of Bayern Munich too). I know Rafa is hoping for a Clasico final 🙂 I hope RM reach the final!!

        • says:

          Tennis would be as boring as golf without the Argie Davis Cup drama (Tiger Woods excepted). At least they didn’t attack each other with their raquetas. Still, Nalby and Delpo nearly coming to blows back in 2008 would have made some video memento. I love the stories of Delpo from that era when his papito was calling the shots and Nalby was sensing his status as the king of Argie tennis was slipping away. I’m hoping Delpo and Berlocq have one of those Jerry Springer-like encounters in Monte Carlo where Pico gets between them and somebody comes out with a black eye LOL. Nobody can call these boys “metrosexual.” The least they could do is give us some shirtless shots on the practice court. 😉

          • Rita Richardson says:

            OOps, I meant Delpo and Zeballos should go at it. LOL

          • mariposaxprs says:

            DelPo has a solid team surrounding him, so let’s hope he doesn’t get involved in any fights. Zeballos apologized for the snarky comments he made after R2 at DC. Since then, he’s made a point of congratulating DelPo (for example, after DelPo reached the final at IW).

            LOL at “nobody can call these boys metrosexual.” That’s what we like about them, isn’t it?

      • says:

        After Delpo’s early defeat at Miami I just didn’t have the spirit to go and spend all that money; I’m now saving up for Cincy in August where I have friends to visit even if he doesn’t show or makes an early exit. They can get me free tickets, too 🙂
        From what I’ve read, it was Delpo who asked for the WC invitation. I read yesterday that he’s getting pressure from la flia to clean up his off-court drama and if this is what triggered that sudden medical crisis, he should take heed. Regardless, getting away from the still-seething Argies and refocus on the game is a good idea. He’ll miss Nalby’s canonization ceremony, though, and the arrival of his firstborn. As for Berlocq’s victory lap on the fire truck, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they chose the exact same format as Delpo’s USO celebration in 2009.
        I’m not a big fan of Nole’s but I don’t wish injury on any player and hope he puts his own recovery in a tournament he doesn’t need. Without him, Roger and Ferrer, they might as well hand the trophy to Rafa right now and get back to partying. Delpo’s got a tough draw and if his head isn’t screwed on tightly, I won’t be surprised if he makes an early exit. Still, he’ll remain in Europe until Estoril to pick up another of those elegant ceramic urns. I love the brief video from last year when he’s leaving the vestuario with it slung over one shoulder like a towel. Don’t they at least pack it up for shipping??
        Today’s the final in Houston. Isner surprised everyone, himself included, by winnng in 3 sets. I can’t believe some are saying Pico threw the match for money! Heck, the guy’s exhausted from all that DC celebrating last weekend and can use the extra day’s rest before Monte Carlo. I’m sure Delpo will enjoy his old friend’s company away from Nalby’s mala cara. Can’t wait for the pictures from their partying.
        Thanks for the new link to Fed’s rant at the umpire. I love it when Mr. Cool loses it. Still, he’s got nothing on Delpo’s extended ranting at the ump a the 2008 USO where anyone who can read lips can tell he made a rude allusion to a relative’s certain body part. I knew beneath all that tranquilidad beats the heart of a tigre.

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Makes sense, Miami had its fun moments this year, but it seemed a bit more subdued this time around. Cincinnati may well be better value for money. The free tickets sound nice too!! You’ll have your pick of matches to watch!

          It seems like DelPo’s left wrist healed more quickly than expected, so the hope is he can play a solid tournament at MC. Waiting until the end of April to play may’ve been too much, so it seems a smart move to test the waters at MC. I too look forward to a 3rd Estoril trophy, although an MC trophy wouldn’t be bad either 🙂 I agree with your thoughts on not wishing injury on any player. It’s not as meaningful when the best aren’t at their best when you’re trying to beat them!

          Sassy Federer is my favorite Federer. I like how he stays classy even when he’s ranting. That takes a special skill 🙂 DelPo’s ’08 USO rant is another favorite of mine too! I love the way he kept raising his arms, walking back to the baseline, before making his way back to the ump b/c he’s thought of something else to say. That was his match against Gillou, right? (…it’s a reminder that Gillou is always a troublesome match-up!)

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