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Monaco in Davis Cup Showdown Against Paraguay. Opportunity for a Heroic Achievement

It’s always challenging playing away… double jeopardy… a proud home team gunning for you and you have to play with the home fans screaming support for their side. And there is a lot on the line in Play Offs. That elusive Group 1 Davis Cup opportunity never before achieved. 

So under the blistering hot sun of Asunción, Monaco’s tennis contingent, led by Valentin Vacherot, put their hearts on the line and came up trumps. They clinched a resounding 3-1 victory over Paraguay in the Group II playoffs over the weekend. And with that their aspirations of ascending to the prestigious elite group remain. 

With the pressure on, Monaco’s players delivered. Late into Sunday evening (with their fans in the Principality watching four-hour later, given the time difference over Asunción), Guillaume Couillard and his team completed their mission: to secure passage to the next round of the Davis Cup, edging ever closer to Group I, a level they’ve long coveted.

Monaco were the favourites on paper, it is true. But the path to victory is  far from straightforward, especially with the added pressure that defeat would have demoted Monaco to Group III, a fate they were keen to avoid. 

The journey to South America marked one of their most distant excursions, accompanied by the sweltering heat of an over 40 degree Celsius day. Christophe Boggetti, the National Technical Director of the Monegasque Tennis Federation, must have been relieved before departing for home. No-one let up until the last ball which was a moment for the whole team to erupt with joy. 

Match by Match 

In a move that caught some spectators off-guard Benjamin Balleret took the court first, filling a crucial role despite falling short against Daniel Vallejo. The 41-year-old former world number 204 showcased his professionalism and dedication, stepping up when needed most. Valentin Vacherot then evened the score, swiftly dispatching Martin Antonio Vergara Del Puerto.

The doubles match on Sunday proved pivotal, with Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys emerging triumphant after a tense tie-break in the first set. This victory set the stage for Vacherot’s heroic performance, overcoming early setbacks to secure victory in three sets.

Looking ahead, Couillard and his team eagerly await their September opponents, eyeing a chance to qualify for the Group I playoffs. Despite the challenges, Monaco remains undeterred, fuelled by the desire to compete on home turf and bask in the support of their loyal fans at the Country Club.

And they have a lot to live up to with a rich history of heroes from the past,

Do You Know These Monegasque Heroes? 

Two tennis players from Monaco making history

It was ten years ago that two Monaco tennis players, Benjamin Balleret and Guillaume Couillard, entered into the world tennis book of records with the longest tie-break in history. The duel between the two monegasques in a Futures tournament in Florida, USA. kept the crowds in suspense for over 35 minutes — the entire length of a tie-break.

The two Monegasques actually played a whopping 70 (points), with a final score of 36:34! It was an absolute breakthrough. 

The Monegasque Who Nearly Brought Home a Grand Slam 

An emotional roller coaster, nothing less at the 2023 Australian Open and reason for Monaco to be very proud. One of the Principality’s own was featuring in the final of the Australian Open doubles.

How many can say they made it to the final of a Grand Slam. It’s the ultimate in the life of any player, rare are the number who battle through each exacting round and make the final to be watched by so many millions across the globe.

And so near to the Holy Grail… a tie-break in the second set brought the dream to an end. Hugo Nys broke down in tears as he spoke following his loss (6-4; 7-6) after that tie break in the Australian Open doubles final. 

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