Monte Carlo Masters Series
Each year in the spring, the top guns of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Men’s Tennis Tour gather at arguably one of the most magnificent venues in the world, the Monte Carlo Country Club. The likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Juan Carlos Ferrero battle it out for the title of the first tennis Masters Series event to be held on European soil, the Monte Carlo Masters.
The Monte Carlo Rolex Masters tennis tournament is held in April each year at the Monte Carlo Country Club in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin that borders on France and Monte Carlo, Monaco. The prize money for the 2009 event was a staggering €2,750,000!
The Monte Carlo Masters is one of the more prestigious events of the Masters Series, and dates back to 1897. It is supported by Royalty and Heads of State, and is all the more glamourous as it takes place in the Principality of Monaco, the personal playground of the Grimaldi family and home to the famed Le Casino de Monte Carlo.
Described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of men’s professional tennis, it is hugely popular and in 2006 attracted over 100 thousand spectators and millions of TV-viewers worldwide. Fans travel from all over the world to purchase Monte Carlo Masters tickets and take their seats beside the Mediterranean Sea and quaff champagne whilst watching the top clay court specialists fight it out for the honours.
The Monte Carlo Masters Series tennis tournament is one of nine events that are played annually throughout North America and Europe as part of the ATP Tour. The events are mandatory and earn players more points than regular tournaments. After the Grand Slam events, the Masters Series is the most sought-after.
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World #1 Rafael Nadal became the first player to win 5 consecutive titles at the Monte Carlo Masters he defeated Novak Djokovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in the 2009 event.
In 2007 Nadal became the second player in the history of the ATP to win both the singles and doubles tournaments at the same event. The 2008 Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament saw Nadal winning his fourth title and 10 overall ATP title, once again denying Roger Federer of a singles final win.
ATP amendments to the Masters Series:
The ATP has announced sweeping changes to the tennis Masters Series. Both players and the affected tournament organisers have been quick to voice their disapproval, but to no avail. Sadly one of the tournaments affected was the Monte Carlo Masters Series.
- The Masters Series was renamed the “1000” Tournaments. One thousand being the number of ranking points up for grabs
- The Monte Carlo Masters had lost its mandatory status
- The Hamburg event was downgraded and replaced with a tournament in Shanghai, China
- The Madrid Masters was changed to a new clay court surface venue
- The Rome Masters was moved to a hard court surface
The organisers of the Monte Carlo Masters were mortified by the unilateral decisions made, and in 2006 filed an antitrust lawsuit against the governing body of professional men’s tennis, the ATP. Although the Monte Carlo Masters will remain as part of the 1000 Tournament, players will not have to take part.
The Monte Carlo Masters traditionally marks the start of the European Clay court season and is seen as a perfect warm-up venue for the French Open tennis tournament, so organisers are hoping that the event will be as well supported in the future as it has been in the past.