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Watch List: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic head to Monte Carlo Masters

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After losing last year, Rafael Nadal will look to win his ninth crown at the Monte Carlo Masters. (David Callow/SI)

After losing last year, Rafael Nadal will look to win his ninth crown at the Monte Carlo Masters. (David Callow/SI)

The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week, the big names on the ATP Tour kick off the European clay season in Monte Carlo, while the women spread out all over the globe for Fed Cup. 

Monte Carlo Masters

[Complete draw]

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  • Published On Apr 13, 2014
  • Watch List: John Isner targets Houston, Sloane Stephens heads to Bogota

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    John Isner beat Nicolas Almagro in the Houston final last year to win his first clay-court title. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    John Isner beat Nicolas Almagro in the Houston final last year — his first clay-court title. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. After the non-stop hard court grind over the last six weeks through the Middle East, Indian Wells, Miami and Davis Cup, this week offers a slight breather before the European clay court season begins in earnest. With most of the top players taking a break this week, there’s nothing but opportunity at the four tournaments.

    U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships

    [Complete Draw]

    John Isner, who now sits at a career-best No. 9, will try and defend his title in Houston as the top seed in a field that includes an array of Spanish clay court specialists, including Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco. Last year’s win was Isner’s first clay court title.

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  • Published On Apr 07, 2014
  • Watch List: Li Na back in action following Australian Open victory

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    Li Na returns to the court for the first time since her Australian Open victory. (David Callow/SI)

    Li Na is playing in her first tournament since winning the Australian Open. (David Callow/SI)

    The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week, Li Na returns after her Australian Open triumph, while Juan Martin del Potro looks to overcome injuries in the Netherlands.

    Qatar Open

    [Complete draw]

    Regardless of how things turn out at this WTA Premier 5 event, it’s a milestone event for Li. Serena Williams and defending champion Victoria Azarenka withdrew with injuries, and Li, who will be the top seed in the tournament, will rise to a career-high No. 2 after Doha, the highest ranking of any Asian player ever.

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  • Published On Feb 10, 2014
  • Watch List: First round of Fed Cup lacking star power

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    Angelique Kerber is the only top-ten player making an appearance in the Fed Cup this weekend. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Angelique Kerber is the only top-ten player making an appearance in the Fed Cup this weekend. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

    The Watch List returns to spotlight the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week the WTA yields the floor to Fed Cup, while the ATP goes back indoors and on clay for three ATP 250 level events. 

    Fed Cup

    [World Group draw]

    While Davis Cup featured the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka, the first round of Fed Cup is completely lacking in star power. Angelique Kerber is the only top-ten player taking part in a World Group tie, with the traditional powerhouses fielding some comically weak teams. Just look at the team Russia is fielding, which features no player ranked inside the top 150.

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  • Published On Feb 03, 2014
  • Watch List: Maria Sharapova looks to rebound in Paris

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    Maria Sharapova looks to rebound from her fourth-round loss to Dominika Cibulkova at the Australian Open. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

    Maria Sharapova looks to rebound from her fourth-round loss to Dominika Cibulkova at the Australian Open. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

    The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week brings the return of Davis Cup and Maria Sharapova’s appearance at the Paris Indoors.

    Davis Cup

    Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Roger Federer are just a few of the top names you won’t see on this weekend’s Davis Cup rosters. On top of that, Andy Murray’s participation in the San Diego-hosted tie against the United States is also in doubt. That takes all the fizzle out of the two blockbuster first-round ties, between Serbia and Switzerland and the United States and Great Britain.

    As of now, Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka will lead the Swiss against a Serbian team that doesn’t include a top-100 singles player. If Murray decides to skip the tie against the United States, John Isner will lead a strong U.S. team, including Sam Querrey and the Bryans, against a British team that won’t have a top-150 singles player. Bummer.

    A more in-depth preview of the weekend’s action will come after the draws.

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  • Published On Jan 28, 2014
  • Watch List: Only one week remains until the Australian Open

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    Juan Martin del Potro is a favorite to advance deep into the Sidney International. (Daniel Munoz/AP)

    Juan Martin del Potro is a favorite to advance deep into the Sydney International. (Daniel Munoz/AP)

    Sydney International

    [Complete men's draw]

    Juan Martin del Potro and Jerzy Janowicz are the top two seeds in Sydney and they just so happen to be the two big names (literally and figuratively) we haven’t had a look at yet this season. Janowicz was supposed to start his year at last week’s Hopman Cup but was forced to withdraw due to a foot injury he sustained while on vacation.  Del Potro will open against Nicolas Mahut, while Janowicz will open against either Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who made the Chennai Open final last week, or the always tricky Alexandr Dolgopolov.
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  • Published On Jan 07, 2014
  • Watch List: Federer, Serena, Sharapova headline Brisbane International

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    (Carl Court/Getty Images)

    Roger Federer can silence the skeptics with a strong performance at the Brisbane International. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

    The Watch List returns to spotlight the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. There are six events spread out across Australia, New Zealand, India, and the Middle East, but the 2014 season officially kicks off on Sunday with the star-studded field at the Brisbane International.

    Brisbane International

    [Complete men's draw]

    Roger Federer has never played the Brisbane International and his presence this year has added even more buzz to an already buzzworthy event that boasts three of the top five women. After an off-season filled with speculation over the state of his career, Federer can finally set things right if he can win here and show he’s truly turned the page and left his confidence and injury woes behind him. One significant change to keep an eye on is Federer’s racket. He confirmed in an interview this week that he plans on moving forward with his racket experiment and will use a larger 98 square-inch frame in Australia. He’s also playing doubles with Nicolas Mahut.

    Federer is the only top 15 player in the draw and if he’s as sharp as he expects himself to be he shouldn’t face much of a challenge until the the final. The next highest-ranked man in his half of the draw is No. 20 Kevin Anderson, with Dmitry Tursunov and Jeremy Chardy rounding out the other seeds in the top half.

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  • Published On Dec 27, 2013
  • Watch List: Davis Cup final preview

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    Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic

    Tomas Berdych (left) and Novak Djokovic are scheduled to meet in reverse singles on Sunday. (Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images)

    Serbia and the Czech Republic will play for the Davis Cup title this weekend in Belgrade, where Novak Djokovic will try to lead his country to victory over the defending champions despite the absence of two mainstays.

    Serbia, the 2010 winner, won’t have its second- and third-ranked players, Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki, when the final begins Friday on an indoor hard court at Belgrade Arena. Tipsarevic is suffering from a heel injury, while Troicki is serving a doping suspension. That only increases the pressure on Djokovic, who will be expected to win his two singles matches and possibly play doubles, too.

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  • Published On Nov 14, 2013
  • Watch List: No. 1 ranking on the line at season-ending ATP World Tour Finals

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    Novak Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic has a slim chance to take over the No. 1 ranking. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

    The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week, all eyes are in London as the ATP finishes its season at the World Tour Finals. 

    LONDON — Walk around the O2 Arena and you’re bombarded by a message that signals both finality and relief: “It All Ends Here.”

    The 10-month ATP season culminates this week at the ATP World Tour Finals, where the top eight men will compete under the lights for the last title of the season. The tournament is both spectacle and celebration, as tennis returns to London for the first time since Wimbledon for an event that may not have the posh feel of the All England Club, but still has a reverent vibe that you can only get on this side of the Pond.

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  • Published On Nov 03, 2013
  • Watch List: Roger Federer in fight for final spots at ATP World Tour Finals

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    Roger Federer is in the running for the last qualification spots for the ATP Championships. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

    Roger Federer is in the running for the last qualification spots for the ATP World Tour Finals. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

    The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. The ATP regular season finishes up at the Paris Indoor Masters, where the final spots for the ATP World Tour Finals will be decided. 

    Paris Indoor Masters

    [Complete draw]

    It’s the last regular-season tournament for the ATP, but the final spots for next week’s World Tour Finals still haven’t been determined.

    Here are the storylines to watch this week in Bercy:

    Race to London comes down to the wire: Three spots remain for London (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych have already qualified), and it will come down to Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic. Federer missed a chance to clinch his berth when he lost to Del Potro in the Swiss Indoors final Sunday. Still, at No. 7, Federer is in the best position to qualify ahead of Wawrinka and Gasquet, who hold the last two qualification spots. Gasquet needs to outperform Tsonga this week to qualify, and the two are slated to meet in the quarterfinals. If both men make it that far, that match will probably determine the last London spot.

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  • Published On Oct 27, 2013


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