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.[tweet https://twitter.com/mysoulFR/status/323045417665327104 align=’center’]
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):[tweet https://twitter.com/adel1609/status/323045259221278720 align=’center’]
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.
- Chascomús Welcomes its Hometown Hero Charly Berlocq: Berlocq, whose Davis Cup exploits took Argentina to the Davis Cup SF, was given a hero’s welcome in his hometown of Chascomús. He was taken aboard a firetruck throughout the city. Sound familiar? DelPo was given a firetruck parade through Tandil, after his incredible debut in the summer of 2008 (his sister Julieta joined him on the firetruck) and he was given a second parade after winning the USO in 2009. It sounds like a sweet Argentinean tradition.
- 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.