The 2017 Monte Carlos Masters have already begun with the first round matches going on currently. The main draw of the tournament comprises of some very nail-biting matchups which might take place during the course of the tournament. However, many notable players will be missing the tournament with the most notable of them being Roger Federer who decided to take a good rest till the commencement of the French Open.
Federer’s pulling out of the tournament means that his trophy cabinet’s wait for a Monte-Carlo Masters title has been postponed till next year. However, Federer is not the only notable player who has never won the Monte-Carlo Masters. Many all-time greats of the sport have never laid their hands on the Monte-Carlo crown and in this article, we will read about five such players.
#5. Stefan Edberg
Along with Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg is regarded to be amongst the greatest tennis players Sweden ever produced. Edberg was the World No.1 for 72 weeks ranging from 1986 to 1992. However, there was a surface where Edberg had difficulty in showing his full potential and that was the clay courts.
Throughout his illustrious career, Edberg won 41 titles but only one of those was clinched on clay court. Edberg is amongst the few players who never won the Monte Carlo Masters with three semi-final appearances being his best performance.The first one of these came in 1986 where he lost to eventual champion Joakim Nystrom in three sets. His next two semi-finals came in 1993 and 1994 where he lost to Cedric Pioline and Sergi Bruguera respectively.
#4. Boris Becker
Clay was the only surface on which Boris Becker never won a title with the French Open being the only Grand Slam that eluded him. Becker reached the final of the Monte Carlo Masters thrice, losing every time. The first of these instances came in 1989 where he was the 2nd seed and reached the final without dropping a set. However, he was beaten by 14th seeded Argentine Alberto Mancini in four sets.
Becker’s second final came in 1991 when he faced Sergi Bruguera. Becker took the first set but Bruguera came back to take the next three sets and win the tournament. Becker’s closest opportunity to win the Monte Carlo Masters came in 1995 when he faced Thomas Muster in the final.
Becker took the first two sets but Muster came back to win the third set. In the fourth set tie-break, Becker had a match point but he double-faulted on it and Muster climched the fourth set 7-6 before bageling him in the final set to take the match and the title.
#3. Andre Agassi
The Monte Carlo Masters was perhaps Andre Agassi’s least favorite tournament as the former World No.1 never even reached the quarter-finals of the tournament in the four times that he played in the tournament.
Agassi’s best performance in the Monte-Carlo Masters is reaching the third round in 1996. Being the second seed, Agassi was given a bye in the first round and faced Dutchman Dan Siemerink in the second round whom he beat in three sets to set up a match against 16th seed Albert Costa in the third round. Costa steamrolled him 6-2, 6-1 and would go on to reach the final where he lost to Thomas Muster.
#2. Pete Sampras
Clay has always been Sampras’ weaker surface as he has a win percentage of only 63% compared to the other surfaces where his minimum win percentage is 77%. Sampras appeared in the Monte Carlo Masters a mere four times with the third round in 1998 being the farthest he has ever reached.
Sampras was up against his arch-rival Andre Agassi in the second round whom he beat in straight sets to register his first ever win of the Monte Carlo Masters. In the third round, he was up against Frenchman Fabrice Santoro who thrashed him 6-1, 6-1. This would turn out to be the last time Sampras ever appeared in the Monte Carlo Masters.
#1. Roger Federer
Even though clay was never Federer’s preferred surface, his versatility enabled him to perform well on clay courts. However, Federer never won the Monte Carlo Masters, having reached the final of the tournament four times.
His first three finals came in consecutive years from 2006-2008 and in all three occasions he faced Rafael Nadal. In 2006, he lost to Nadal in four sets and was beaten by the Spaniard in straight sets in the following two years. He did not reach the final until 2014 where he beat Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals to face compatriot and friend Stan Wawrinka in the final.
Federer took the first set but Wawrinka rebounded well to take the next three sets to win the only Masters 1000 title of his career so far.