For tennis fans in New York, it was hard to tell on Monday morning whether spring had announced itself with sunshine and warmer temperatures outside, or with sunshine and warm temperatures on TV. Yes, there was nice weather here, the first in what feels like months; but it couldn’t compare to our first sightings of the Monte Carlo Country Club, where opening-round matches at the Masters event there were underway. Even from an ocean away, and even if it only lasts a week, that's not a bad view to wake up to each morning.
It also shouldn’t be a bad tournament to watch. A decade ago, the Monte Carlo event seemed like it was about to topple off its own cliff and into the sea. It had its mandatory status revoked, and was on the verge of being demoted out of the Masters Series. But many of the players, especially those from Europe, rallied around the tournament, which has a 118-year pedigree and the sport’s most spectacular setting. Fast forward to 2015, and Monte Carlo is as important to the ATP tour as it has ever been—eight of the Top 10, including the Big 3, are entered, and there’s a lot at stake for everyone involved as they begin their clay campaigns in earnest.
With the tournament's first two days in the books, here’s a look at the draw, and a few thoughts on how it might play out.