Steve Tignor has his look at the Monte-Carlo draw up.
There’s another tennis ritual at this time of year, of course: The dominance of Rafael Nadal. Over the last four years, he’s lost a total of two matches in the lead-up to the French Open, while winning eight Masters events. Every spring we wonder if he can run the table again, and every year he comes out like a new man on clay, his recent losses forgotten, and does it again. Even those two losses, to Federer in Hamburg 2007 and Ferrero in Rome 2008, seemed fortuitous for his French Open aspirations.
There’s another element to Nadal’s dominance. He tends to use this time of year to avenge earlier hard-court losses and stop players from gaining any momentum against him. This year his quarter may afford him a chance to do this again. The top two seeds after Nadal are Juan-Martin del Potro and Gael Monfils, both of whom have beaten him in 2009. Those two are slotted to the play in the fourth round for the right to face Nadal in the quarters.