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Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
Source: www.ubitennis.net

Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters – History of the tournament

The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters has been one of the most prestigious events in the world of international tennis for over 100 years. Since 2000, the Monte Carlo Tournament has been part of an elite ATP Championship: Masters Series. The best world tennis players meet on the courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Over the years the competition was won by such talented players as Gustavo Kuerten, Cedric Pioline, Andrei Chesnokov, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Guillermo Coria, Ivan Lendl, Novak Djokovic and the unrivalled Rafael Nadal who won the tournament 8 times in a row from 2005 to 2012, a record in the world of tennis!

Winners of Rolex Masters Monte-Carlo over different years- wall with certificates
Winners of Rolex Masters Monte-Carlo over different years

However, the event has not always enjoyed that much popularity. It dates back to April 1896. Back then the tournament was not held in Monaco, but in a small French town of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin bordering the Principality. The Rolex Masters organisers hired tennis courts and administrative facilities from the French Republic. The first competition in 1896 was won by an Englishman, George Whiteside Hillyard. The following year, the Brits continued to lead with Briton Reginald Doherty defeating his compatriot Conway W. Blackwood Price.

Year after year, more and more participants wanted to show their skills and eventually the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters became what it is today. Initially it was an amateur tournament, but since 1969 Rolex masters has only been attended by professional players. It is the oldest tennis tournament in Europe. Today, it includes 24 teams and 56 individual players.

Post stamp "50 years of Monaco Tennis Federation", 1977
Post stamp “50 years of Monaco Tennis Federation”, 1977

The Monte-Carlo Country Club is the main tennis club in Monaco that was founded thanks to the American philanthropist George Butler, a great patron and lover of tennis. He was a particular fan of the famous French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen who won 31 championships from 1914 to 1926.

Each year, the winner of the championship receives the prize from one of the members of the princely family. There have always been warm, friendly relations between the Monte-Carlo Country Club and the ruling family. Back in the day, Prince Rainier III, a great tennis admirer, and his wife Grace Kelly supported the development of the club. Prince Rainier’s cousin, Melanie-Antoinette, was its chaperone for many years until her daughter, Elizabeth-Anna Massey, took over its presidency. Prince Albert II of Monaco is also a great fan of the tournament and attends the event as a spectator whenever possible.

Rolex Masters Monte-Carlo - history of the tournament
Source: https://s1.lemde.fr

To this day, the Rolex Masters tournament is held on the clay courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Its stands are designed for 9,000 spectators, but many more watch it on TV screens, with the event being broadcasted in 66 countries around the world. The prize fund in 2017 amounted to 3,748,926 euros! And the budget is only growing. In 2013 it was of 2,998,495 euros, while this year it was just shy of 4 million euros!

Rolex, a famous Swiss watchmaker, has been the main sponsor and partner of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for many years.

new logo
New logo

It is increasingly the European players who win the tournament, although in 1990 Andrei Chesnokov became the only Russian winner of this prestigious competition.

This year the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters is held on 15-23rd of April. For the 111th time the Monte-Carlo Country Club hosted international tennis stars on its courts and terraces with panoramic views of the Mediterranean.

Tournament Director Zeljko Franulovich
Tournament Director Zeljko Franulovich. Source: montecarlotennismasters.com

“We are proud to announce that we have already renewed our partnership to Rolex, our Title sponsor since 2009. Sergio Tacchini will continue its partnership to our tournament for the next three years. In 2017 we have a new logo of the Rolex to strengthen our partnership to our Title sponsor. The Main Draw was held on Friday 14th April at the famous Exotic Gardens in Monaco at 18.30. The Launch Party will take place on Saturday 15th April at the Zelo’s. The Kids day, which attracted 1700 children in 2017, will be organized on Sunday 16th April. The Media tournament supported by Sergio Tacchini will be held on Saturday 22nd April and Sunday 23rd April. We have already registered a rise in the number of ticket bookings from Italian tennis clubs this year. In 2016 we have announced the start of a new project involving the building of new facilities which will be completed in 2018. This includes a new interview room. Players enjoy playing in our tournament. I would sign today that we will have the same results as this year”, said tournament director Zeljko Franulovic.

Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Source: archive.4plebs.org

A Great Tennis Night will be traditionally held in Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Monte-Carlo on 21st of April to mark the opening of the event.

Ticket prices vary for the general audience and members of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. There are also different seating categories.

To book a ticket online please click the link: montecarlotennismasters.com/billets/tarifs/

Sources: www.ubitennis.net & www.grandslamtennistours.com

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