The world’s leading tennis players and national teams are gearing up for clay season! Since the Masters tournament in Miami, players now turn to clay for the second grand slam of 2013. The Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, the Barcelona Open, the Rome Masters and the French Open are all highly anticipated events. Clay courts present a unique set of challenges for players; some excel on clay, while others struggle. Clay courts are considered “slow” and players utilize topspins to try and best their opponents. Clay courts tend to favor “baseliners” with a strong defensive game like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Justine Henin. Here are overviews of the four major events of the season:
Monte Carlo Rolex Masters | April 15 – April 21
This tournament celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006. The first of three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments played on clay, this event is both a fan and a player favorite due to its incredible location. It boasts a long tradition of champions including Spain’s Rafael Nadal winning an Open Era record 8th consecutive title in 2012 along with a mindblowing 44-1 event record.
Barcelona Open | April 22 – April 28
Held at the oldest Spanish tennis club, the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899, the Barcelona Open celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012. It is considered one of the most important events in Barcelona, in Spanish tennis and in the clay court season. The past 10 editions have been won by Spaniards, with Rafael Nadal raising the trophy seven of the past eight years.
Rome Masters | May 13 – May 19
The Internazionali BNL d’Italia features the very best elite tennis players at the Foro Italico in Rome. However, this event is more than just a tennis event; it is considered by many fans to be a total entertainment experience. The Rome Masters features fine food, high fashion and incredible shopping as well as celebrity musical performances. It is by far one of the most glamorous stops of the ATP World Tour.
French Open | May 26 – Jun 9
This time-honored tennis tournament is held over two weeks in Paris, France at the regal Stade Roland Garros. It is the second of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments on the tennis calendar and is considered the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world. The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that is still held on clay and it wraps up the spring clay court season with a flourish.