Hey all, the Monte Carlo draw has just been announced and it will be Federer's first tournament back since the Australia Open having undergone knee surgery in February. After he attempted to make his return at the Miami Open 2 weeks ago, but couldn't participate due to a stomach virus, it now means he's back to his planned schedule of returning at the Country Club and he's been practising on Court Centrale for the last several days. As for the draw you can see the projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- 1st Round: Bye
- 2nd Round: Tomasz Bellucci / Guillermo Garcia Lopez
- 3rd Round: Roberto Bautista Agut
- Quarter Final: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- Semi Final: Novak Djokovic
- Final: Andy Murray
Thoughts on the Draw
First up will either be the good but erratic Bellucci or the solid clay courter Garcia Lopez. On his day Bellucci is a threat to anyone on this surface but he hasn't played since the 2nd Round of Miami where he retired from exhaustion against Kukushkin, later saying he lost 5 or 6 kg of weight in the match and could not continue.
Garcia Lopez is also a solid dirt baller and he has 2 clay court matches under his belt already this season beating Almagro then losing to Vesely in the Marrakech quarter finals yesterday. Neither of those guys are an easy proposition for a comeback match on Fed's least favourite surface and least favourite tournament (in terms of results). I'd still pick Fed to come through but they could be 3 setters.
Round 3 looks like the Royal Bank of Agut would be the opponent and he's had a pretty decent year quietly accumulating wins to reside comfortably in the Top 20. Roger has schooled him in past meetings however so whilst he's a real road runner type player Fed has always been able to manoeuvre him around the court at will. Perhaps not as easy to execute when you haven't played for 3 months but it could be a good match to find some rhythm so I hope it happens.
In the Quarter Finals and either Tsonga or Gasquet are potential opponents. Tsonga has the slightly easier draw thanks to a 1st Round Bye but should both Frenchmen meet in the 3rd Round it's anyone's guess. I'd probably pick Gasquet at a push to come through it. His record against Federer is poor but he does have that 2005 win in Monte Carlo against him on his CV so you can't rule him out completely. I think Fed likes the match up though which he wins in most areas. Should he meet Tsonga then it's always a trickier match but I'd pick Fed to overcome either player but see them both being 3 setters.
Semi's would then be Djokovic, who Fed has a 3-0 record against in Mickey Carlo 😆 and the final seeded to be against Murray who has not had a good US hard court swing.
Just like Miami it's pretty difficult to have any real expectations from Fed as he's been out of action for almost 12 weeks. Sure he will have practised an awful lot but matches are a different ball game. At least with clay it's the surface least likely to bring big upsets so hopefully he can have a decent week playing 2 or more matches.
What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments.