In 2013, Novak Djokovic became the first player in nine years to defeat Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo (Photo: Getty Images)
In 2013, Novak Djokovic became the first player in nine years to defeat Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo
(Photo: Getty Images)

First stop of the European clay court season, the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters is starting on Sunday. Only non mandatory Masters 1000 of the ATP calendar, Monte Carlo will nevertheless feature the complete top 6 (as Roger Federer has decided to play and received a wild card into the event).

The main draw has been made this Saturday, and needless to say that the matches it will offer promise to keep us on the edge of our seats for the next week.

Complete draw

World n°1 Rafael Nadal is going for his ninth title in Monaco, and his draw should enable him to get very far in the tournament, which includes a potential quarter-final match with David Ferrer and a semifinal encounter with Stanislas Wawrinka. However, Wawrinka’s road is booby-trapped from the start, where he awaits the winner of Marin Cilic/Fernando Verdasco. A semifinal appearance is no guarantee for the Australian Open champion.

As for defending champion Novak Djokovic, his draw will not be anything easy either, with a potential third-round meeting with Gaël Monfils (if the Frenchman is recovered from the ankle injury that forced him out of Casablanca), and a potential semifinal against Roger Federer. However, Federer might have to fend off n°10 seed Fabio Fognini in the quarter-finals. Fognini is definitely one to keep an eye on in this tournament.

Five first-round matches to follow: [12] Grigor Dimitrov vs Marcel Granollers, [17] Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Ernests Gulbis, Radek Stepanek vs Ivo Karlovic, Marin Cilic vs Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Mahut vs Dominic Thiem.

Who will win the first clay-court Masters 1000 of the season? Take our poll and let us know what you think!