He opens with a bye and then either Pablo Cuevas or Fernando Verdasco - both are inconsistent these days - before a potential round three with Milos Raonic, another player whose level is tough to judge on clay now. For the past decade and more, the eight weeks that run from the start of Monte Carlo to the end of the French Open have been his property.
Nadal who is a 16-time Grand Slam victor will be eyeing his 11 title at the Monte Carlo Masters as he looks to win the tournament for the third time in a row. With injuries plaguing Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray this season, Cilic sees an opportunity, especially after reaching two of the last three Grand Slam finals.
And, after disappointment in the Sunshine Double - Indian Wells and the Miami Open - Federer opted to miss the clay schedule again.
Any doubts about Nadal's physical condition were cast aside, however, when he won both his matches for Spain in last weekend's Davis Cup quarter-final against Germany.
On the other hand, Rafael Nadal has to defend 4,680 points in the next two months and if he doesn't successfully defend his titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Federer will become the world no. His display against world number four Alexander Zverev was particularly impressive, winning 6-1 6-4 6-4.
"I love this event and the weather has been good".
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The shot clock works to enforce stronger rules on how much time the players on the court are allowed to take between serves after points, limiting it to just 25 seconds.
Concerning his health and spontaneity in the game as he's about to return fully to action, he said: "I feel good", he said.
The Monte Carlo Masters is the first ATP Masters event on the calendar played on clay. This is my first event of the year, that I hope I can finish and I am excited about that.
The draw has not been kind to the comeback man as he finds himself in the half of the draw, which also has the likes of former world number one Novak Djokovic and last season's clay-court star Dominic Thiem.
Holding onto his lead, Khachanov eventually claimed the excellent win after an hour and 50 minutes, firing down yet another powerful unreturnable serve on his first match point. I wanted to share something simple I always try to remember: no matter how good you are at something, there is always more to learn, more to improve, more to explore.so keep your head in the game. Earlier this month, he stopped working with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek - the latest in a series of coaching changes for the 12-time major champion.