There are a lot of similarities between Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka. They’ve both been No. 1, they both love hard courts, they both have a mix of offense and defense that’s a perfect fit for the way the game is played today.
And they’ve both been tough on this tennis-tournament previewer recently. First Vika made me wait for three days to start the women’s-draw breakdown in Miami; just as I was typing the first words, she pulled out. Now Novak is doing something similar, with his own ankle issue, in Monte Carlo. The top seed says he’ll decide whether to play what’s essentially his hometown event tomorrow. Officials of the Principality, who provide him with a tax-exempt life, encourage him to participate, and Novak stuck it out here last year even after his grandfather died. So you get the feeling he’ll do what he can this time.
Djokovic’s decision will obviously have a big effect on any preview of the event, but it’s a day too long to wait for me. The men are already into their second afternoon of matches at the game's most famous cliffside country club. Here's a breakdown of the draw, with the assumption that it stays the same as it is right now, with Novak at the top.