Good friends and Davis Cup team mates but for about two hours they will have to put this aside as in one of the standout round matches at Monte Carlo see’s Kyle Edmund up against Dan Evans for a place in round two against a man who has won Monte-Carlo 9 times in the last 12 years and once went on 46 win streak there, so no pressure!
Both have been playing some good tennis this year, it didn’t work out for them in Davis Cup recently against one of the strongest teams in the competition in France but now they battle each other in France in the first big tournament of the clay court season.
Dan is currently ranked at 44 and Kyle at 47 which is good going forward into these Masters events over the next few weeks in Rome and Madrid to get into the main-draws but need to keep that ranking up there to qualify.
This one you could put it down to two shots, the backhand of Dan against the forehand of Kyle. To just talk about two shots doesn’t necessarily mean there is an over-reliance on these respective shots but their games are built on it.
The clay in Monte-Carlo is quite a slow and can be a heavy surface which is why it might benefit Dan more as he is patient on the baseline and can use the slice off that backhand to slow down Edmund who will be looking for that forehand cross court but should look to mix it up.
I like clay court tennis, it brings a different aspect to the front of the game it relies players to be a bit more creative and be more clever with their footwork to progress and be creative and even for players who’s game may just have a big weapon it does throw the need to find variety but variety doesn’t always have to mean being good on the baseline, good at the net and a good volleyed but using a strength or more ways than one.
Let’s look at Edmund’s forehand for example.
Kyle will look to backhand into that inside-out position and play that flat forehand cross court but if anything it could end up playing into Dan’s hands. Dan will happily sit on the baseline and defend using that backhand slice which he can utilise down the line or cross court with little power and pace giving Kyle little to work with.
Kyle should be looking to mixing it up as you don’t want to get stuck in a rhythm of going for the same shot but should look to maybe go for the forehand up the line which may have more risk attached to it as it will be a more curved shot on the racket with less power.
Tough one to call, conditions in mind I have to think that Dan is favourite. It’s a big match for both at one of the biggest tournaments out there and the winner gets Rafael Nadal in round two.