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When does the clay-court tennis season begin? Which events are Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Emma Raducanu playing? – Eurosport

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The clay-court season is nearly upon us, with the elite of men’s and women’s tennis preparing to head to Europe for just over two months on the dirt.

It could become one of the most significant periods in tennis history, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – tied on 22 Grand Slams – both set to make a return to action, having both missed the ‘Sunshine Swing’ in America.

With women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek struggling with injury and unexpected defeats, and Britain’s Emma Raducanu performing strongly this year, there promises to be plenty of storylines written in the weeks ahead.

When does the clay-court season begin?

For the men’s ATP Tour, the clay-court season begins in Monte-Carlo on April 9, a Masters 1000 event.

For the women’s WTA Tour, the first clay event of the spring takes place in Charleston, a WTA 500 event. The first European clay-court tournament is in Stuttgart on April 17.

What is the schedule for the clay-court season?

  • Monte-Carlo Masters: 9-16 April
  • Barcelona Open: 17-23 April
  • Madrid Open: 26 April – 7 May
  • Italian Open: 10-21 May
  • French Open (Grand Slam): 28 May – 11 Jun

ATP 500 events and above only

  • Charleston Open: 3-9 April
  • Stuttgart Open: 17-23 April
  • Madrid Open: 25 April – 6 May
  • Italian Open: 8-21 May
  • French Open (Grand Slam): 28 May – 11 June

WTA 500 events and above only

Which events will Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic play?

Nadal has not featured on tour since the Australian Open, where he lost in the second round to Mackenzie McDonald after suffering an abdominal injury.

Djokovic has been missing from the game for different reasons, with the US denying him entry to the country in view of his Covid-19 vaccination status.

But he is also set to restart his year in Monte-Carlo, as he features on the current start list.

Both Djokovic and Nadal – fitness permitting – will likely then feature in Madrid and Rome, with Nadal perhaps also taking in Barcelona, where he has been champion on 12 occasions.

Rafael Nadal against Novak Djokovic on Philip Chatrier court in the 2022 French Open quarter finals.

Image credit: Getty Images

That all, of course, builds up to what may be the pair’s big showdown in Paris.

Which events will Emma Raducanu play?

Raducanu’s schedule is yet to be confirmed, and is made more difficult by her current ranking of 72 which means she requires some events to award her wildcards in order to enter the main draw.

Her profile as a former US Open champion typically means elite events will want her there, but this year she will no doubt be looking to improve her ranking so she can enter all WTA tournaments by right.

Raducanu only played 11 matches on clay last year, and exited the French Open at the second-round stage.

Will Iga Swiatek be ready to feature?

Swiatek said this on March 22 about her immediate plans following her rib injury: “I will keep you updated about where I play next, because it depends on my process of recovering and the recommendation of my medical team. I have the best team behind me, we only need some time to deal with the injury.”

As such, her prognosis is at the moment unclear, but she will hope to fit in at least one tournament before the French Open, an event she has won twice, in 2020 and 2022.

When is the French Open?

The French Open takes place at Roland-Garros, Paris between 28 May and 11 June.

It is the second Grand Slam of the year, sandwiched in between the Australian Open – won by Djokovic in January – and Wimbledon, in July.

Stream the 2023 French Open live on discovery+, the Eurosport app and at eurosport.com

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