ATP Masters 1000Monte-Carlo MastersRoger FedererTennis Predictions

Monte Carlo Draw: Federer and Djokovic in Same Half

The draw for the 2014 Rolex Monte Carlo Masters is out and Federer has landed in the same half as Djokovic so they're set to meet in the Semi Finals. Still a bit of a surprise Roger has decided to play here but I'm looking forward to seeing how he fairs on the dirt. His last outing on the surface was way back in Gstaad last summer so it's been a good 8 months since he last set foot on it.

Draw wise this one looks all set for a rematch of last years final on paper and if Roger doesn't make the final that's the match I want to see. When Djoker beat Nadal in last years Championship match I thought he was going to win the French Open. Obviously he didn't, losing a 5 set semi final to the Spanird, so it will be interesting to see how they match up this year. Djokovic has won the last 3 matches on hard courts but clay will give us a different look at where the rivalry is heading.

Federer's Projected Opponents

  • Round 1: Bye
  • Round 2: Stepanek / Karlovic
  • Round 3: Janowicz
  • Quarter Final: Fognini / Tsonga
  • Semi Final: Djokovic
  • Final: Nadal

Projected Quarter Finals

  • Djokovic vs. Berdych
  • Federer vs. Gasquet
  • Nadal vs. Ferrer
  • Wawrinka vs. Raonic

Full .PDF draw.

Predictions for Federer

Federer Monte Carlo Draw 2014

Looks like a good draw to me with a either Stepanek or Karlovic first up both of whom he's scored wins against recently and then potentially Jerzy Janowicz in the third round who he beat in Rome last year. I can't see the Pole being too much of an issue here as clay isn't his ideal surface and he's mentally out of if this year. He blew a 2 set to love lead in the Davis Cup last weekend against Cilic and although I haven't seen him play he's clearly out of form. In fact he might not even make the third round as he faces a qualifier in the first round then either Rosol or another qualifier in the second. If the Qualifier happens to be a solid clay court (Michael Berrer, Albert Montanes type player) he could easily crash out.

The Quarter Final is a very interesting one with Fognini a potential opponent. With Fognini you get possibly the third best player on clay in the world right now in terms of form / matches won but also a very unpredictable one. Ferrer may argue differently with that I suppose 🙂 but that's my take.

Fognini is a bit of an unknown as he's unpredictable but I feel Roger just has too much in his arsenal to really get outgunned or outplayed by the Italian. Fognini has great movement on clay and can hit shots from anywhere on the court but there are few better players at maneuvering their opponent around the court than Fed. He can't be taken lightly after dismantling Murray in the Davis Cup but I back Fed to come through that one.

Tsonga is the other projected QF opponent after Gasquet withdrew with injury but I'm not sure he will factor as he's had a poor season so far. Maybe the Davis Cup victory can give him some confidence but I doubt it.

The projected semi final would be another match against Djokovic who is the defending champion and he's obviously the favourite. He lives in Monte Carlo, has his entire team with him and it is pretty much his own backyard. The surface and conditions also work in his favour so that's going to be a tough one should they meet.

With Nadal in the other half it looks like he'll be the one waiting in the final, he's won this event a million times so unless he's out of form I can't really see how he fails to make the final.

Dark Horses

Fed Back on Clay

Picking dark horses on slow surfaces like clay is always tricky as usually the better players in terms of rankings come out on top but I'll have a punt on either Delbonis, Garcia-Lopez or Youzhny having a decent tournament.

I expect Cilic to do well here too and he could face Wawrinka in the second round if he gets past Verdasco in his opener. That's a tough early encounter for Stan as he's looked poor post Australian Open but he does usually play well in Monte Carlo. I would say if he falls early here it's a definite sign he's on a Maiden Slam downer.

What are your predictions for Fed? Can he claim his maiden Monte Carlo crown?


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. There’s no Gasquet. It’s Tsonga who’s in his half. They’re all the same French to you, ain’t it?

  2. Assuming Roger is still riding on his DC high, I think he will be able to make it all the way to the quarters at least. Nadal maybe the best clay court player but in terms of movement I will always prefer to Roger.

  3. Draw looks good. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Roger copes on this surface with his new-found energy and new racquet. Looks like Gasquet has withdrawn though. Who will take his place I wonder?

  4. Some great match-ups in the early rounds:

    2nd round:
    Wawrinka-Cilic/Verdasco, winner likely faces Almagro.

    1. Fiasco withdrew huh. Groin injury. I think he would have been a threat to a lot of players. He usually plays well in spurts and just won Houston.

  5. An interesting stat I found-

    Federer has won 29% of his return games in 2014, his highest since 2007.

    In comparison, “Nadal has won 31 percent of his return games, far less that his total in each of the last three seasons (2013: 34, 2012: 38, 2011: 34) and Djokovic has won 30 percent, also lower than in his last three seasons (2013: 33, 2012: 35, 2011: 39).”

    That is a SUBSTANTIAL difference!! Ouch!

    See more at:

  6. Hey great to hv a post already! Goodish draw but agree Fognini is a big obstacle! And will be riding vv high from the DC win! I also saw Delbonis as a wildcard but has just been squashed by Granollers (where has he been?) in Casablanca! Fed will be hoping for at least 3 matches to get his timing, footing, racquet issues sorted! Anything else is a bonus! Can’t wait!



    For all those of us who also play tennis, we can learn so much from this angle. He makes it look so easy, it isn’t fair. Just watch his technique- his preparation, the back swing, the straight arm on impact, the follow through, his eyes on the ball upon contact, the footwork- it’s the closest thing to perfection I have ever seen in anything. `

  8. Looks like a nice draw for him, should get to the semis.

    Stan has a hard draw though… I know clay is his best surface, but he’s gonna have to pick it up from his post Ao form… when does it start, monday?

  9. Not much blog-free time you had then, Jonathan. But thanks for keeping us well-informed 🙂

    Thought ‘no Roger no party’ for a month so it’s great to have this SURPRISE party. No complaining about Fed’s draw, though would prefer Stepanek for his first opornent, just for a better game to watch. Also it would be an interesting match against Fognini if happens. Any idea when he will play his first match? Wednesday?

  10. Thanks Jonathan, agreed that it is a fair draw. I think that Roger should make it to semi. His potential QF opponent, Fognini, is indeed very good on clay. I watched the match he played against Andy in the DC. He has got a few tricks but against Roger he could be on the back foot all the time. In that match, Andy was tired, moving at 2 metres behind the baseline and trying to hit through Fognini with his GS with little variation. Fognini toyed with Andy with his very effective forehand drop shots (I think winning all of them). I don’t think that a similar tactic will work when he plays against Roger. I will be very surprised if he could take a set off Roger, let alone two.
    Against Nole, it will be very tough. I just wish that Roger will just play freely with aggresion without thinking too much about result.
    Allez Roger!

  11. Hello everybody, hi Jonathan… What a great community you guys are. Really love this blog! You do an amazing job Jonathan, really to put this all together with such consistency! You’re a real champ! Thanks again!!
    Been a bit busy latetly and i hope for little Roger delight to enjoy my free time… and here it comes, let’s o Monte Carlo!

    I don’t know really if he’s going to miss madrid and Rome, but I felt Roger and o play MC not only fo the ztp points and ranking but also to keep his match momentum and get in the mix with the boys and try to get to another encounter with the big shots like Djoko… he needs those matches (win or lose) to be ready for another GS and a great season! So it totally makes sense to me Roger plays it, he had to!!!

    Great article as usually Jonathan. Only I don’t know really if Fognini is a factor for Roger’s game. I’ve been loving his game fora while now; before even his great results, you could see his talent and his attitude issues and i’m happy he’s been doing well consistently now. But not sure his game can hurt Roger even on clay.

    Janowicz is more worrying me because he has to play better at some point… and I hope it’s not going to be now!!! But I remember a comment after his Paris final run from his coatch saying his favorite surface was clay ! ? ! We haven’t seen it yet, but players like him are capable of coming with a great run out of nowhere. Again I hope it’s not going to be now!!!

    I’m just so so so so happy Roger’s playing MC, I have never seen him play there!!!
    (I stopped watching tennis from my university years till 2011… can you believe it. And as a belgian I then missed all of Henin and Clijsters carriers. No time for regrets, Thanks to the web and particularly youtube, I have be updating at fast speed since!)

    So let’s hope for a great Roger and Novak semi.
    But what do you think Jonathan, should he beat Novak, would it be a good thing knowing he has little chance against Nadal?

      1. Fognini seems to be surviving every scare he faced so far… I seriously want to be right about him, no need for a Nishikori surprise this time…

        Interesting, Roger in post match interview says why he decided to play MC…

        So happy he’s in match mode! it’s a great sign…

  12. Hi Nath, super comment!

    Totally agree about the peRFect Tennis community and Jonathan’s consistency. It’s as great as Fed’s 302 weeks No.1 or 23 consecutive grand slam SF streaks 😉 Let’s hope both champions stay healthy and play as long as possible.

    1. I think so! Tough! Novak playing today, maybe given the privilege as no 1 seed and defending champ! We shall see as Ferrer also playing

  13. Great post Jon.

    I agree with your predictions and Fed will face Fognini, and I think he will be a good test for Roger on clay. It´s going to be interesting to follow Nadal on clay to see how his form is once again. But most likely we´re heading against a Djokovic-Nadal final next sunday which is not so bad after all.

    My dark horses are Fognini and Dolgopolov, which are both players if they are at their best have the believe in they can beat the best.

    Let the games begin!

    1. I might be wrong but I don’t see Fognini as a threat to Fed, they only met twice and not on clay but not great from the Fog
      2012 Wimbledon
      Great Britain Grass R64 Federer, Roger
      6-1, 6-3, 6-2 Stats
      2007 ATP Masters Series Canada
      Montreal, Canada Hard R16 Federer, Roger
      6-1, 6-1 Stats

      Even if he’s more confident now, his game is not a danger to Roger’s. And Federer is not Murray
      People always think he doesn’t like clay but results speak for themselves…

      Roland Garros:
      Finals played:
      Nadal : 8 finals
      Borg: 6 finals
      Federer- Lendl – Wilander: 5 finals
      Agassi – Kuerten – Courrier – Brugera: 3 finals…

      Roger has been in 5 finals and won 1, if it’s not being a good clay player???
      he also played 2 semi finals and 3 quarters
      he also broke there Djokovic incredible streak in 2011

      For the clay masters 1000 his records are only second best to Nadal (the King of Clay) :

      Monte Carlo:
      3 finals, all lost to Nadal (he had to beat everyone else to be there)

      3 finals

      4 wins (a record) including one against Nadal and final lost to him (Nadal), so 5 finals!

      And there too in 2007 he’s the one who stopped Nadal’s incredible 81 consecutive wins on clay. Federer wins for the first time against him on clay 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.

      3 wins including one against Nadal, and 2 lost finals (1 against Nadal).

      This does not include in general semis, quarters and other honourable results in masters 1000!
      If another player at the moment other than Nadal has a better record on clay let me know please…

      1. I dont´t think Fed dosen´t like to play on clay, he grew up on it and it may be his own personal favortie surface. Just because he has had the biggest succes slam vice on grass and hardcourts it´s not the same as it´s the surfaceses he likes the most. I think that if he could pick a surface to play on just for fun it would be clay because he grew up on it. And Just because he has ended up losing more often or not to Nadal on the surface dosen´t take anything away from Roger his high level on the surface and he´s the second best claycourter on tour over all.

        But with that said Fognini has had a great couple of seasons on clay and his game is evolving, esecially his footwork and his mental strength, so with that in mind he could be a good test to Roger, not the same as he´s better than Roger on clay or Roger being a poor claycourter, but simply that an inform Fognini could be a good test for Federer since he has not played a tournament on clay in the last 8 months or so.

        And the fact that Fognini beat Murray on clay dosen´t mean that much giving Murrays qualities on the surface.

        But it seems like Fognini has troubles against Sousa, so maybe we will never know 🙂

      2. This comment sorry was supposed to be under the primary post…to remind who ever forgets that federer is also a great clay player (mostly the majority of the press actually should be reminded of it)
        I totally agree with you on everything you said except about Fognini, I might be wrong but i see Fognini not being able to rise to the occasion (i love his game really since roland garros 2011) and blow his game against federer. And I hope to be right if they were to meet 🙂 !

        Roger “second best claycourter on tour over all”. 100% YES!!!

    2. @Mark Good call on Dolgo, carrying his form from the hardcourts onto his best surface.

      Interesting stats on Fed @Nath. I think peoples opinions of Fed on clay are formed solely on his struggles to win the FO.

      I wonder what Fed’s worst surface is in terms of losses to low ranked players? I’d guess clay. Montanes and Gulbis in same year. Melzer although he was near top 10 at time. Nishikori. And then his younger days he lost to some journeymen like Horna at the FO in first round.

  14. Hey Jonathan, great post. I am really looking forward to Roger playing as you call it Mickey Carlo.
    I think he will get far, SF atleast. After that, like you say….. in Novak’s backyard with his whole team present???
    Think that it will be very difficult for Roger. And lets not forget, if he makes it, guess who will be waiting, wanting to win it for the 9th time???

    But…. I know this will sound unrealistic… still…. having really great hope for Roger not only to make the final but winning it too 🙂 Yes, even with Rafa on the other side, because I still believe Novak and Roger are the only ones capable of making it Rafa difficult and beating him. And ofcourse it does help that more players are believing that they can beat Rafa and that they are beating him too.

    And if Roger believes that he can and wants to and will win every tour he enters, why shouldn’t we think it too??

    1. Well said! Honestly I always remember the way Roger was manhandling Rafa that first set of the French Open 2011. If everything clicks on the day he can win! There’s no point thinking otherwise then there’d be no point taking to the court at all. ALLEZ ROGER!

    2. Cheers Katyani.

      Fed has played perfect sets plenty times on clay vs Nadal just eventually got worn down in a lot of cases. Definitely capable of winning in this best of 3 format I think.

  15. Hey Sid, Roger’s clay season has begun. Restperiod is over.
    Time to come out and give us your opinion and more important your predictions 🙂

    1. More like Pablo’s troll season has just begun. He will be in full bloom.

      My predictions? Roger isn’t winning this one unless Nadal takes Djokovic yachting, they wander off, somehow make it to the North Atlantic, and get lost for a week.

  16. Novak is of course a big favourite to make the final but he’ll have to bring it, potentially having to go though Monfils, Berdych and Federer. Tough ask for anyone. All three are class clay court players on their day, and Berdych did well on the clay last year making semis of Madrid and Rome, the latter of which he beat Novak I believe. Plus everyone will be watching Novak this clay season, it’s a different kind of pressure… I feel that success on the clay is constantly in his mind whereas Novak is at his best just being instinctive. Know what I mean? I’ll be bold and predict that he’ll get beat by one of those three. Ha a cowardly prediction I know. 😉 Ok ok I’ll back Roger out of those three 😀
    for Federer honestly I’m still surprised he’s even playing. He looked pretty tired against Nishikori. Hell we’ve not seen him on clay since he hobbled off against Brands in Gstaad! But then my attitude as a fan has always been if Roger’s playing he’s in it to win it. I’ll back him to make the final.
    Forget Djokdal I wanna see Fedal! What influence will Edberg have on Roger’s clay tennis this year? He’s definitely improved mentally this season. We might find out in the coming months if Roger really can beat Rafa again. Maybe he will use Henman-like tactics to win remembering a post Jonathan made a couple of years back!
    First thing’s first here’s hoping Stepanek will beat Karlovic so that we won’t have to watch the most boring one sided ATP match in history, even if it is Roger 😉

      1. And ironically it was one sided 😉 but in a good way! Roger played so well and was pretty aggressive I thought, really hitting over the BH rather than slicing so much.

    1. Henman vs Chela 2004. What a match. I can’t believe Henman didn’t win the FO that year he had that lil shit Coria on the ropes but managed to lose. Surely would have beaten Gaudio in the final. Guess it was written in the stars he’d never win a slam.

    1. Yeah, Fognini is totally making the match: if he concentrates, he’s got it, as soon as he loses concentration, he sprays balls all over the place… Weird match really

  17. Btw, does anyone see Stepanek as a threat to Roger in the 2nd round as Roger doesn’t have match practice. I think he should be very careful of that hurdle.

    1. Radek is a hassler, who can be effective on a fast court (like in Dubai, we all knew what happened there). On clay, especially on a slow clay court at MC, the net rushing and his hassling tactics are less effective, as balls don’t drop once up. So he could be a sitting duck. With Roger’s trickery 🙂 , he could be made felt silly. On a separate note, his ball-striking strokes are short and not nature-looking. To some players, it is difficult to judge where he directs balls to, acting as a disguise – one of his strengths. However, Roger has played him so many times, so I don’t think that Roger will have problems there. Roger does need to keep balls relatively deep so that Radek has not got much much a chance to maximise his playing angles.
      Allez Roger!

    2. I think so! Tough! Novak playing today, maybe given the privilege as no 1 seed and defending champ! We shall see as Ferrer also playing

    3. I think Stepanek is always a test. Sort of guy that takes advantage if you are having a bad day. Fed will need to be sharp for sure.

      Djoker destroyed Montanes which no real surprise as he has no weapons but still a solid clay courter so good statement match from Djok.

      Lllodra took out Janopole too.

  18. All early matches on clay are a challenge! Fed has to be alert from day 1. Stepanek will be somewhat weary I wld think as has also played a lot of tennis and done a lot of tough travelling! Fognini is huge threat whatever Nath says. He is winning matches he used to lose, much tougher mentally and def top 10 within weeks if he continues like this although he too has put a lot of miles in recently, and now has the distraction of Flavia as well!!
    Ps where is Edberg?? Not coming to MC??
    I see Enqvist back in tennis again, coaching! These swedes must know something!!

    1. Enqvist probably do a decent job with Fiasco. He has slam winning talent to work with.

      Stepanek could get a set easily. Then its a close one.

    2. Severin Luthi is Roger’s coach. Funny how Edberg is being credited as Roger’s coach when Severin is with Roger most of the time. I guess Severin isn’t a big enough name. Sigh.

    1. How’s your German?

      There are a few short translated extracts here:

      … but while you’re on that site, check out Roger’s interview with Mats Wilander from just a few weeks ago in Miami, it’s just lovely (and they have versions in a bunch of languages – looks like all the main ones except no French):

      1. mmmm – now that I look at it, looks like that German interview was actually done in Geneva. Some good stuff there though, if you can wade through the Google Translate.

      2. WHich is surprising, given Wilander’s constant pangs of the inferiority complex he’s always felt when talking about Roger.Amazing really how Federer is so sweet and genuine with the guy despite some of the absolutely unfounded and ridiculous things the guy has said about him.

      3. I watched it as well when it came out. Roger is such class, I am pretty much that Matts Wilander regrets all the stupid things he said before. As a tennis journalist and chief media analyst on tennis at EuroSport, Matts did himself no favour whatsoever by upsetting all Roger fans worldwide. I notice that he has been much more careful lately.

      4. I would disagree on Wilander, I saw a lot of Fed fans criticise his comments and I wasn’t sure how to weigh him up as I don’t watch Eurosport a lot. But having seen several interviews and listened to some of his commentary on matches he is consistent in his view from what I can tell. Not like McEnroe who jumps ship mid tournament.

        He is employed to have an opinion on tennis players and say what he thinks, not please Federer fans or be biased.

      5. I totally agree with you Jonathan, I watch Eurosport a lot and I always wait for his “game set & mats” program.

        He always praise Roger and he is so objective and straight to the point. Whatever he believe, he say it clearly! I don’t believe he is biased to any player. He love the game and he do whatever he’s been tasked to do “giving his opinion”
        I don’t know from where this criticism came from? I don’t really understand? Is it because he praise Nadal as well? Is that why? just guessing

      6. Thinker, I’m pretty sure I’ve read that interview in English, too, so I’m not sure what language it was originally given in. Think it may be on MTF in the Federer Express forum somewhere.

      7. Hard to know isn’t it Alison. I too am sure I’ve seen parts of this in English but thought there were some questions/answers I hadn’t seen before; and I think I saw “an interview given to German magazine xxx” – of course sometimes those references aren’t accurate. Also, of course, he gets asked similar questions in every interview, so it’s not surprising we start seeing the same answers even if they do come from different days.

  19. Hey guys, something to think about…. If Novak wins MC, he will have won 5 ATP 1000 titles in a row !!!
    And he will also be closer to Roger’s number of 21…….

  20. I also think Roger will have a chance of making the final, but just don’t think he would have much of a chance of beating Nadal. Not saying it would be a complete blowout, but not particularly close either. Something like 7-6(5) 6-3 to Rafa. Ok so theres my prediction guys. Nadal def Federer 7-6(5), 6-3.

  21. I would like federer to be drawn in Nadal’s half in the Roland Garros Draw 😉 , I’m very certain this is the year Federer beats Nadal on clay and wins the RG title for the second time :).

      1. Yeah, clay is definitely the season where I’d rather Federer be in Nadal’s half. Federer’s biggest threats are …Nadal……………………………….. Djokovic……………………………………………..andthentheothers.

        Nadal’s biggest threats are Djokovic or an early upset if a big hitter is on song.

        In all likelihood Fed ain’t beating Nadal on clay(90-10), but has a 30-70 shot against Nole. However, if he does beat Nole, Nadal’s pretty much guaranteed the trophy. At least by being in Nadal’s half, we have a buffer of knowing that Dull isn’t guaranteed a trophy.

  22. Hustle and bustle, a way to go 🙂 🙂 🙂 . Roger converted all four BPs – 100%, WaoHa! 🙂 . Well done Maestro!

    1. Hi Utch, thanks for the link and I’ve just read the article. It is very nice 🙂 .
      I normally read every article with Roger in it as well, you are not alone 🙂 . I bet there are thousands out there just like us; some of those don’t even play tennis and are normally not very interested in sports. As some Fed fans said, being a Roger’s fan is a bit religious experience 🙂 🙂 .

    2. You’re far from alone Utch… I go to sleep right after reading Roger’s news and do the same when I wake up (even if by that time there’s nothing news yet 🙂 ! ), and throught out the day… in french and in English… Compulsive!!!!! But I think it’s also a great inspiration in life…Roger’s a great model to have, I learn a lot from him even if he’s younger than me!

  23. Hi Guys,

    I am in the number too. I read every and I mean EVERY article that is written about Fed. My friends thinks I am looney. He is such a great human being, exemplary athlete and truly an INSPIRATION.

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