Scouting Report

Nadal’s return and more stories of the week on the ATP Tour

A summary of the events in Barcelona, ​​Munich and Bucharest

April 14, 2024

Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Holger Rune, Rafael Nadal and Francisco Cerúndolo will compete this week.
By Staff

A week of three European clay-court tournaments promises plenty of interest, including Rafael Nadal’s return at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and Holger Rune’s effort to win his third consecutive title at the BMW Open in Munich.

Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas competes in Barcelona. Rune, No. 12 in the PIF ATP Rankings, will be joined in Munich by top seed Alexander Zverev and third seed Taylor Fritz. Francisco Cerúndolo leads the field at the Tiriac Open as the ATP Tour returns to Bucharest for the first time since 2016. looks at five things to keep in mind at each event.

1) Rafa returns: Nadal, a 12-time ATP 500 champion, where the stadium court is named after him, will be playing in only his second tournament of 2024. The Spaniard has an outstanding record of 66-4 in Barcelona, ​​having lifted the trophy for the first time in 2005 and most recently in 2021.

2) Tsitsipas, on the hunt for one more trophy: Stefanos Tsitsipas, a three-time finalist in Barcelona, ​​will look to bring his Monte Carlo form to Spain in hopes of getting his hands on the Barcelona champions’ trophy for the first time. The fifth seed finished runner-up in the ATP 500 in 2018, 2021 and 2023.

3) Ruud on a roll: Casper Ruud, who reached the Monte Carlo final, has had a brilliant season. The Norwegian is second on the ATP Tour this year in wins (24-7), according to Infosys ATP Stats, and will try to improve on this record in Barcelona, ​​where he is the third seed.

4) Stars to follow: Second seed Andrey Rublev, playing Barcelona for the first time since 2021, will look to end his three-game losing streak and revitalize his season with a deep run in Spain. Australian Álex de Miñaur, a semi-finalist in the 2022 tournament, is the fourth seed and could face Nadal in the second round.

5) Strong doubles field: Top seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos lead Barcelona’s doubles field, which also includes Ivan Dodig/Neal Skupski, Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury and Santiago González/Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

1) Zverev leads the field: Home favorite Zverev will look to relive his championship memories at the BMW Open, where he lifted the trophy in 2017 and 2018. The top seed, who is one win away from 20 this season, will be focused on the task at hand after suffering defeats in their first match of the last two years in Munich.

2) Rune’s charge for the third title: Second seed Rune is aiming for his third consecutive title in the clay court event. Last year, the Dane dramatically saved four championship points against Botic van de Zandschulp to claim his fourth tour-level crown. Rune is looking for his first trophy since that race 12 months ago.

3) Thiem looks for the best way: After claiming his first ATP Tour victory of 2024 in Estoril, two-time Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem will look to turn back the clock in Munich, where he reached the final in 2016.

4) Fritz and Struff, among the top favorites: Third seed Fritz makes his second appearance on the Munich clay. Fritz, a semi-finalist last year, is looking for his first clay court victory of 2024. Jan-Lennard Struff, seeded fourth, will have the home crowd behind him as he plays the event for the ninth time and looks to take another step (he was the 2021 finalist).

5) #NextGenATP Michelsen seeks milestone: American teenager Alex Michelsen looks to improve on his fourth-place finish in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah this week. To achieve this, the 19-year-old will need to capture a historic moment in his young career: a first victory on the clay court.

1) Cerúndolo, top favorite: Argentine Francisco Cerúndolo leads the Tiriac Open as he aspires to his third title at the circuit level and second on clay. The 25-year-old went 19-12 on the surface last season, with his best finish being a final appearance in Lyon.

2) Gasquet plays the 1,000th game: Frenchman Richard Gasquet will add his name to a piece of history this week when he takes the field for his 1,000th tour-level match. The 37-year-old joins Novak Djokovic and Nadal as the only active players to achieve the feat.

3) The #NextGenATP Fonseca returns to the tour: Brazilian Joao Fonseca, 17, captured the attention of tennis fans in February, when he reached the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro. Sixth in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah, the Brazilian looks for another deep run in Romania in just his fifth tour-level tournament.

4) Talented seeds: Leading the top seeds behind Cerúndolo are Tallon Griekspoor, Alejandro Tabilo and Sebastian Korda. While American Korda is seeking his first tour-level trophy since the clay-court event in Parma three years ago, Griekspoor and Tabilo are aiming for their first title on the surface.

5) Massive presence of Italians: Lorenzo Sonego, sixth favorite; Luca Nardi and Luciano Darderi form a strong trio of Italians in Bucharest. Each of the three has found a high level at times this season, with Darderi winning the ATP 250 in Córdoba and Sonego reaching the quarterfinals in Marrakech. Nardi defeated Djokovic in Indian Wells and followed up with an ATP Challenger Tour title in Naples.


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