The best of the past week on We Are Tennis by BNP Paribas : every Tuesday, we summarize the tennis news of the past week, and mix them with news of the real world. A week marked by the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, people getting angry and a 96-year old Mexican high school student.
Monday, April 16th
Is Novak Djokovic finally back ? After getting back with Marian Vajda, his ex-coach, and leaving the duo Radek Stepanek - Andre Agassi, the Serb started his season on clay with a convincing win against Dusan Lajovic (6-0, 6-1) at the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000. Others have had a worst start to their week, like Jared Donaldson, who lost against Albert Ramos-Vinolas (6-3, 6-3) and god madly angry at the umpire. Or like this Algerian man, who stood naked on the roof of his car to protest against his driving ban, or Viagogo, an online ticket marketplace, who has been convicted for selling Roland-Garros tickets online without having the right to do so. Busted.
Tuesday, April 17th
Monte-Carlo is not a place for feats. Not on Tuesday, in any case. David Goffin crushed Stefanos Tsitsipas (7-6, 7-5), Alexander Zverev defeated Gilles Muller (4-6, 6-3, 6-2) and Dominic Thiem knocked out Andrey Rublev (5-7, 7-5, 7-5). To find surprises, you had to travel to the German island of Rügen where a 13 year old archeology fan found an incredible treasure : coins, pearls, a Thor hammer, brooches and broken rings…nothing to lose.
Wednesday, April 18th
Monte-Carlo is not a place for feats. Not on Wednesday, in any case. Kei Nishikori destroyed Daniil Medvedev (7-5, 6-2), Djokovic defeated Borna Coric (7-6, 7-5), Marin Cilic knocked out Fernando Verdasco (6-3, 7-6), Milos Raonic punished Marco Cecchinato (7-6, 6-2)… and Rafael Nadal didn’t disappoint against Aljaz Bedene (6-1, 6-3) ! « The start of my tournament is positive. I still need to step up my game, but I had a nice feeling on the ball » said the king of the Monte-Carlo clay. Before reassuring his fans on his future projects : « When you get older, you have to adjust your efforts and you schedule. But for me, it’s difficult to say « I’m not going to play on grass or hard courts. » There are tournaments that I don’t see myself missing on purpose, because I love to play there ! Monte-Carlo, Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open, Rome… » To find surprises, you had to travel to Scotland, where two children put a Playmobil boat at sea, hoping that it will travel the world. In a year’s time, the boat was seen in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and traveled a few thousands of miles.
Thursday, April 19th
Monte-Carlo is not a place for feats. Not on Thursday, in any case. Goffin knocked out Bautista Agut (6-4, 7-5), Zverev defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (6-4, 4-6, 6-4), Cilic made the most of Raonic’s injury, Grigor Dimitrov crushed Philipp Kohlschreiber (4-6, 6-3, 6-4), Nadal destroyed Karen Khachanov (6-3, 6-2), Thiem dominated Djokovic (6-7, 6-2, 6-3) and…Richard Gasquet celebrated his 500th win on the ATP circuit (6-2, 7-5 against Mischa Zverev) ! « 500 wins, it’s symbolic, said the Frenchman. Not a lot of players have done it. I’m one of the worst players on that list…Sixteen years after my first win, it’s nice. It’s a nice thing to have after the time I’ve spent playing. It’s been a while now ! » To find surprises, you had to travel to Morocco, where a teacher who thought he fathered nine children found out that he was infertile since birth…you don’t need to imagine the family dinner that followed the news.
Friday, April 20th
Monte-Carlo is not a place for feats. And everyone knows that at the end, Nadal will be there. Meanwhile, the favorite of the tournament destroyed Thiem (6-0, 6-2) while Goffin, Cilic, and Gasquet lost against Dimitrov (4-6, 6-7), Nishikori (4-6, 7-6-7, 3-6) and Zverev (6-4, 2-6, 5-7). A good opportunity for them to take part in the 32nd international kite festival in Berck-sur-Mer, France. What do you mean, they’re not interested ?
Saturday, April 21st
Nishikori-Nadal. That’s the program of the final in Monte-Carlo after the first won defeated Zverev (3-6, 6-3, 6-4) and the second one destroyed Dimitrov (6-4, 6-1). The Japanese has every reason to be afraid after seeing the Bulgarian’s comments. « Rafael is hurting us, physically and tactically, it’s as simple as that. When we serve, he’s far behind the base line. We know that the ball is going to come back, inevitably, whether we serve at 200 km/h or at 130 km/h. », said the desperate semi-finalist. And what if the surprise occurred in the last match ?
Sunday, April 22nd
Nope. Because Nadal rhymes with ruthless, the Spaniard won his 11th title in Monte-Carlo. Nishikori ? Crushed, 6-3, 6-2. At this pace, the Majorcan will probably dominate clay until he turns 96. Just like the Mexican Guadalupe Palacios, who made her dream come true by going back to high school four years before turning 100, after learning how to write four years ago. And she also knows that Rafael is spelled with only one f.