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ATP Picks: Monte Carlo

The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters is the most glamorous stop on the tour and due to many players living in Monaco, this almost seems like a home tournament to many including Djokovic, Berdych, Stepanek and Cilic.

Nadal should have an easy go of it until Ferrer in the quarters but he owns their head to head, so Djokovic is the chief threat. Federer could be Novak’s main obstacle, but the Swiss Army Knife would have to possibly negotiate Tsonga, Fognini or Bautista Agut who are all capable of an upset.

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Let’s Break It Down!

ATP Level: 1000

Surface: Outdoor Clay

Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic – Fresh off a win against Nadal in Miami, he’s chasing his fifth successive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown by retaining the title.

Floater: Roberto Bautista Agut – Comes in 13-9 match record this week and is highly adept on the dirt.

Youngblood: Pablo Carreno Busta – The Spanish Armada is not weakening. At 22 and ranked 62 already.

Slumping: Stan Wawrinka – It’s been a slow few weeks for the Aussie champ and gets the tough Cilic in round 2.

On Fire: Fernando ‘Hot Sauce’ Verdasco – His first title in 4 years last week; the Spaniard is finding his way back.

My pick: Rafael Nadal – This is his backyard and he’ll be chomping to get back at Nole. Title number 9 in Monte Carlo.

Did You Know?: Rafael Nadal won an Open Era record eighth successive title there in 2012 and has a staggering 44-2 event record.

Watch: Monte Carlo Uncovered

Thanks for reading and check back next week for more predictions!

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ATP Picks: Miami

Sony Open Tennis

There are enough story lines going on this week in Miami to make Don Johnson proud.

Andy Murray announced he’s parting company with Ivan Lendl, on whose watch took Andy to new Grand Slam heights. Lendl’s desire to play more tennis himself, seems to have prompted the amicable split.

A rejuvenated Djokovic looks to complete the Indian Wells / Miami double for the second time in his career to join Federer as the only man to have done this. Federer himself is coming off a good run of form with 1 title and 1 final and new ranking of number 5. Some of the young-bloods look dangerous including Raonic, Dolgopolov, Dimitrov and Gulbis. Nadal - incredibly – has never won in Miami, so he will be fired up not just to make good on his 2nd round exit in Indian Wells.

American interest is spearheaded by new world number 10 John Isner with the usual gang of wildcards and nearly-rans behind him. Time for Sam Querry to stand up and be counted.

Sony Open Tennis

Sony Open Tennis

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 1000

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: Andy Murray – Coach-less but ready to defend in his beloved 2nd home. He’s 14-5 match wins this year.

Floater: Lleyton Hewitt – Needs one more win to reach 600 career wins. Will get Nadal 2nd round if he wins.

Youngblood: Karen Khakanov – Wildcard Russian 17 year old stands 6’6″ looking for his first main tour win.

Slumping: Jo Tsonga – Comes in on a 9-5 match wins record, which is poor for him.

On Fire: Alex Dolgopolov – A breakthrough win against Nadal in IW and semi-final has given The Dog much to chew on.

My pick: Novak Djokovic – The draw is kind until potentially Murray and with his IW win, should have the confidence to do the double.

Did You Know?: Rafael Nadal looks to get his hands on the elusive Sony Open Tennis crown on his 10th visit to Miami.

Watch: Miami Uncovered

Thanks for reading and check back next week for more.
Roger Federer

ATP Picks: Indian Wells

BNP Paribas Open

Everyone loves Indian Wells and it’s the first Masters event of the season. All the big guns are here while the US fields plenty of up and coming players too. Nadal sits atop the draw with little to worry about despite news of a ‘tricky draw’. Two players that could face each other and then Nadal are Janowicz and Raonic. They have big enough games to cause Rafa a bit of trouble and of course Murray who is in his section.

Federer does have a good draw provided he keeps up his form from Dubai. No real issues until he potentially meets countryman and Aussie Open champ Wawrinka.

Djokovic certainly has pound-for-pound the tougher section with in-form players including Berdych, Cilic, Tsonga, Gulbis and Dimitrov.

All 5 wildcards have been offered to US players: Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Rhyne Williams, Rajeev Ram and Steve Johnson. You can read more about these players here.

BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, CA

BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, CA

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 1000

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal – The 3 time champion enters with a 16-1 record and 2 titles this season.

Nasty Floater: Lleyton Hewitt – 2 matches away from 600 career wins; he’ll be fired up.

Up and Coming: Federico Delbonis – The 23 year old left hander from Argentina won his first title in Brazil last week (on clay).

Slumping: Andy Murray – Enters with a 12-4 record; not shabby but not the start to the season he’s expected.

On Fire: Roger Federer – The 4 time champion with a 42-9 event record is on a roll after winning in Dubai last week.

My pick: Novak Djokovic – No titles so far this season, but with a 30-6 tournament record here, he can get things back on track.

Did You Know? The last player to do the Indian Wells-Miami double was Novak Djokovic and the last player to do it twice was Roger Federer.

Player Records:

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Watch: Groundbreaking for the IWTG Site Expansion

Watch: March Mania Uncovered

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nDuOYmktwg