Djokovic, Sinner, Medvedev all in loaded top half of Monte-Carlo Masters draw

The world No 1 has not played since Dubai and faces a tough route to the title

Novak Djokovic Laurent Lairys / Panoramic

Novak Djokovic may have to beat two of the most in-form players in the world if he is to be triumphant on his return to the ATP Tour at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters next week.

The world No 1, who has not played since Dubai after being refused entry to the USA over his Covid-19 vaccination status, has a bye into round two but that’s where things begin to get tricky.

Brandon Nakashima or Mackenzie McDonald will be awaiting in the second round; Hubert Hurkacz, Miomir Kecmanovic or Jack Draper are among potential third-round foes and then Jannik Sinner, a semi-finalist in Indian Wells and runner-up in Miami, is his seeded quarter-final opponent.

Should he get through to the semi-finals, Miami winner Daniil Medvedev is the man seeded to be there, albeit on his worst surface, and then he would play whoever comes through the bottom half, which includes the winner of the last two Monte-Carlo titles, Stefanos Tsitsipas, as well as Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud and the Americans, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe.

“Monte-Carlo is like home for me,” said No 2 seed Tsitsipas, who was present for the draw. “I am very happy to return to defend my title.”

Thiem-Gasquet and Murray-De Minaur in round one

The draw was held at the Monte-Carlo Country Club on Friday and saw several intriguing first-round encounters, including Andy Murray, playing there for the first time since 2017, up against Alex de Minaur and Dominic Thiem taking on Richard Gasquet.

World No 2 Carlos Alcaraz and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal are missing through injury, while Felix Auger-Aliassime also pulled out.

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