With no action from the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters this year, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, ATPTour.com has taken the time to reflect on some of the greatest moments in the tournament’s history as we celebrate 30 years of ATP Masters 1000 tennis.
From 1990 to 2019, here are some of the key milestones from Monte Carlo:
One Year Ago, 2019: Fognini’s Dramatic Run
It was almost a flying visit to the Monte Carlo Country Club for Fabio Fognini in 2019. The Italian, born in nearby Sanremo, trailed Andrey Rublev 4-6, 1-4 in his opening match before an impressive comeback. It proved to be the start of a dramatic, career-defining week for Fognini.
The 13th seed, who also rallied from 1-6, 0-2 down against Borna Coric, stunned then-World No. 3 Alexander Zverev and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets to set up a surprise final against Dusan Lajovic. After falling behind an early break on Court Rainier III, Fognini raised his level in front of a pro-Italian crowd to become the first man from his nation to win a Masters 1000 trophy.
“I just feel happy because I won a big tournament that was always my goal in my career,” said Fognini. “I think everybody, when you’re growing up and you start and you decide to play tennis, you are dreaming to win a big tournament.”
Five Years Ago, 2015: Djokovic Makes History
Two years after ending Nadal’s eight-year reign as Monte Carlo champion, 2013 winner Novak Djokovic collected his second title in the Principality. The Monte Carlo resident moved past Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Andreas Haider-Maurer and Marin Cilic to book a fourth ATP Head2Head meeting against Nadal (1-2) at the event.
Djokovic broke his great rival’s serve on four occasions to reach the championship match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory and become the only man to beat the Spaniard on multiple occasions at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament. Djokovic was pushed the distance by Tomas Berdych in a rain-interrupted final, before clinching the trophy 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 after two hours and 43 minutes. As a result of his final win, Djokovic also became the first man to win the opening three Masters 1000 events of the year after completing the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami earlier in the month. At his next two events, the Serbian claimed his fourth Masters 1000 trophy of the year in Rome and reached the Roland Garros championship match.
10 Years Ago, 2010: No Stopping Nadal
When Rafael Nadal hangs up his racquet, he may look back at the 2010 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters as the most dominant tournament of his career. The Spaniard entered the event on an 11-month trophy drought, dating back to his 2009 Internazionali BNL d’Italia title run, but dropped just 14 games across five matches to capture his sixth successive Monte Carlo crown.
Nadal beat Thiemo de Bakker, Michael Berrer, Juan Carlos Ferrero and David Ferrer to book a final clash against Spanish No. 2 Fernando Verdasco. The five-time defending champion produced his best tennis against his countryman, dropping just one game to take the title after 86 minutes. Nadal won an Open Era-record eight consecutive titles in Monte Carlo between 2005 and 2012.
20 Years Ago, 2000: Pioline’s Greatest Triumph
In 2000, Cedric Pioline became the first French winner of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in the Open Era. After runner-up finishes at the event in 1993 and 1998, the 6’2” right-hander produced his best level to capture the biggest title of his career in the Principality.
Pioline dropped just one set en route to his third Monte Carlo championship match, where he faced first-time Masters 1000 titlist Dominik Hrbaty for the trophy. The 30-year-old Frenchman held his nerve throughout the two-hour, 40-minute final, defeating Hrbaty 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(6). It proved to be the final trophy of Pioline’s career.
30 Years Ago, 1990: Chesnokov’s Maiden Masters 1000
In 1990, Andrei Chesnokov arrived in Monte Carlo seeking his first Masters 1000 title. The Russian, who entered the event with four ATP Tour crowns, did not drop a set en route to a semi-final clash against World No. 8 Emilio Sanchez. Chesnokov was down a set against Sanchez, who had beaten World No. 3 Boris Becker in the quarter-finals, before clinching his place in the championship match with a final-set tie-break triumph.
In a meeting of first-time Masters 1000 finalists, Chesnokov defeated 22-year-old Thomas Muster in straight sets to claim the trophy. Three weeks later, Muster overcame Chesnokov to capture his maiden Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The Austrian captured three Monte Carlo titles (1992, ’95-’96) during his career.