Monte Carlo Masters 2017 – First impressions

by Jonas Eriksson

I’m in Monte Carlo this week, watching the Masters and I won’t be posting as regularly perhaps but wanted to give some first impressions since this is my first time at the tournament.

From what I saw:

Djokovic was tested against Simon in a tight three setter. Simon served for the match at 5-4 in the third, but I don’t think I was alone with the feeling that the Serb wasn’t going to give away a single point. Alas, he broke back and won two games for the 2,5 hour win.

Djokovic mentioned (in French…he lives in Monte Carlo) that he was still rusty on clay and it showed, but that he was happy to get a win against a tough opponent.

Before that old man Tommy Haas had disintegrated Benoit Paire. Haas played really well and the French head case (hard to argue against this, just watch him) did what he usually does in those situations and stops fighting and just throws away points. In the post-match interview Paire said (replaying to a question touching upon Haas’ age of 39) that he would have lost to a 70-year-old the way he was playing. This made Haas’ wife, actress Sara Foster, comment on Twitter that “Tommy had pneumonia when he played this tool in Australia. Did he mention that in the press conference? No he didn’t.”

Paire is sometimes a tool but he does have the tools to play excellent tennis. It’s up to him to seek the proper mental coaching to get past this “childish phase” in his career and live up to his potential.

Last up on center court was ball-basher Nicolas Almagro vs David Goffin. Almagro was firing on all cylinders in the beginning while the Belgian boy band Goffin (Brad Gilbert’s nickname) had trouble adjusting. Almagro rushed up to 5-1 and the set seemed over.

But with Almagro you never know. He is a trend-player and when he’s ON, he’s on, but he can quickly go OFF again. I’m sure Goffin knew this and just started making sure to get the balls in with good depth. Almagro started missing and suddenly Goffin had reeled off five games in a row and was leading the set by 6-5. Could Almagro hold for a tie-break?

Almagro plays fast, that’s his style, but sometimes I think he could benefit from slowing down the points and starting to really focus. Rushing at 5-6 is NOT a good idea, especially when you have lost five games in a row. But still he did and lost the set 7-5 after leading it 5-1. It wasn’t so surprising then that the Spaniard only got one more game in the match,

That was it from an exciting day in Monte Carlo. Tomorrow I’ll be watching Haas vs Berdych with interest and I’ll also be curious to see Nadal and Murray enter the tournament.

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