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Tennis, Italian Open 2024: Djokovic returns in depleted field as Rybakina defends women’s title – Preview, schedule and how to watch live action


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Rome Masters: Djokovic and Rublev among men’s contenders

Rublev profited from Djokovic’s absence and injuries to some of his main rivals to claim his second ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid after his Monte Carlo triumph last year.

The Russian is seeded fourth in Rome with Stefanos Tsitsipas his predicted quarter-final opponent. Tsitsipas reached the 2022 final, when Djokovic claimed the last of his six titles, but suffered a surprise second-round exit in Madrid to Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro.

The Serbian superstar was heavily fancied to retain his title last year but went down to Holger Rune in the quarter-finals with Daniil Medvedev defeating the Dane for his first ATP tournament win on clay.

Now 36, the world number one has played just three tournaments this season as he attempts to preserve his body in the twilight of his career. And with Sinner and Alcaraz absent, he has a great opportunity to secure his first title of 2024.

Other contenders are 2017 champion Alexander Zverev, seeded three, and Casper Ruud who defeated Djokovic in the Monte Carlo semi-finals before falling to Tsitsipas in the final. The Norwegian then won Barcelona but went down to Auger-Aliassime in the last 16 in Madrid.

Ruud could face Djokovic in the quarter-finals although American youngster Ben Shelton is also in his section of the draw.

Having reached the fourth round of his last Masters event on home soil, 10-time champion Nadal will open against a qualifier in Rome. Seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz awaits the winner with the Spanish veteran saying he will decide whether to bid for a 15th French Open title after this tournament.

And one of the big questions is: What can Nadal do?

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