Net Talk: Time for the clay

  • By: Andy Schooler (Twitter: @NetTalkTennis)
  • Last Updated: April 15 2014, 8:12 BST

As the European claycourt season gets under way, our Andy Schooler brings you his latest Net Talk column.

Rafael Nadal: Looking to win the 44th claycourt title of his career this week
Rafael Nadal: Looking to win the 44th claycourt title of his career this week

With time at a premium, the column is just the basics this week, I'm afraid.

The European claycourt season has just got under way in Monte Carlo and, following last week's piece on the players to watch out for on the red dirt, what I will quickly say is that this is always a good week to oppose some of the big names who are not entirely at home on the surface.

Plenty of the world's top 20 can struggle as they take their first tentative steps of the season on the clay and the specialist dirtballers have a track record of punishing them in Monte Carlo.

Look out for the Spanish armada - Spain was responsible for all four finalists on the ATP World Tour last week - while the South Americans are always a threat at this time of year.

My suggestion would be this is a decent week for match betting - hopefully you can bag a few big-priced winners.

Betting

If you've yet to read it, here's my preview of the Monte Carlo Masters with Novak Djokovic taken to shine.

Our betting partners Sky Bet have a host of markets on the event, from quarter betting to final forecast - head over to their website to check out the full range.

Stat of the week

Rafael Nadal has Guillermo Vilas' record of 46 claycourt titles in his sights now. Nadal will be seeking his 44th in Monte Carlo this week and his schedule means another impressive campaign on the red dirt could see him break the record in the coming weeks.

What you may have missed

Having not originally entered, Roger Federer accepted a wild card to play in the Monte Carlo Masters.

The teams for the Fed Cup semi-finals were announced with Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci available again for Italy.

The draw for the Davis Cup World Group play-offs was made, with Serbia and Spain both given tricky away trips.

Spaniards Fernando Verdasco and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez were winners on the ATP World Tour, while France's Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet claimed WTA titles.

This week in tennis

All week - The ATP is in Monte Carlo for the first claycourt Masters 1000 event of the year where Nadal, Djokovic and Federer all play. Meanwhile, the WTA heads to Kuala Lumpur. Dominika Cibulkova is the star name on show in Malaysia.

Saturday & Sunday - The Fed Cup semi-finals take places with Australia hosting Germany in Brisbane and the Czech Republic entertaining Italy in Ostrava.

Twitter

Not before time, the Monte Carlo Masters finally has its own account for this year's tournament - it's @MCROLEXMASTERS. Looks like the caps lock got stuck on.

Don't forget to follow myself - @NetTalkTennis - and the website's feed - @SportingLife - if you don't already.

You can also contact us via email - tennisfeedback@sportinglife.com.


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