As a Scot, Andy Murray might have felt more at home than most, but the world No 4 nevertheless spent a frustrating day as rain set in at the traditional opening of the European clay-court season in Monte Carlo yesterday.
Murray has a bye in the singles at the Monte Carlo Masters, but was due to play doubles with Ross Hutchins against Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinak, only for the match to be called off as conditions worsened on a cold and windswept afternoon.
Murray had not planned to be here at all this week, but successfully sought a wild card after his early exit from the recent Miami Masters. Although clay is his least favourite surface, he had his best season on the red dirt last year and consequently has many points to defend in the coming weeks if he is to avoid a minor tumble down the world rankings.
Even though Juan Martin del Potro is still sidelined with a wrist injury, the Argentine will overtake Murray in the rankings if the Scot fails to match his performance in reaching the semi-finals here last year, when he lost to Rafael Nadal.
In his opening singles match, Murray meets Thomasz Bellucci or Philipp Kohlschreiber. He is seeded to play Jurgen Melzer in the third round, Ivan Ljubicic in the quarter-finals and five-time defending champion Nadal again in the semi-finals.
With Roger Federer choosing to miss the tournament, last year's runner-up Novak Djokovic and the dangerous Marin Cilic are the top seeds in the other half of the draw.
Leon Smith, who coached Murray during the latter's teenage years, is set to be named as Britain's new Davis Cup captain today in succession to John Lloyd, who resigned last month. Smith, who has become a key figure in the Lawn Tennis Association's coaching structure in recent years, will hope to persuade his former charge to play in Britain's next match, a relegation play-off against Turkey at Eastbourne in July.Reuse content