The Monday Slice: Roger needs to find love on the court


For normal folks, the idea of a honeymoon in Monte Carlo would be beyond their wildest dreams. It's fair to say that it probably wasn't what Mirka Vavrinec, now Mrs. Roger Federer, had in mind either.

The Swiss ace married his longtime girlfriend in a small private ceremony in his hometown of Basel over Easter. Just hours later the pair jetted off to Monaco to prepare for this week's Monte Carlo Masters.

Federer had originally planned to skip the event due to its close proximity to the wedding (which was kept a secret to all but his nearest and dearest), yet late last week opted to accept a wild-card entry.

The new Mrs. Federer is clearly a patient and understanding woman and acceded to her husband's request to delay their proper honeymoon to a later date.

Federer's decision to play this week speaks volumes for his determination to resurrect his season upon the red clay of Europe.

A desperately poor hard court campaign, by his own exalted standards, left him frustrated and angry.

Few like his chances of breaking Rafael Nadal's dominance on dirt. However, unlike on hard courts where Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have recently claimed his scalp, Federer is undoubtedly the second best in the world on clay.

Three straight French Open finals is a mighty effort, albeit one tinged with the heartbreak of being undone by Nadal's brilliance on each of those occasions.

Perhaps the thrill of marriage will reinvigorate Federer. The low-key, elegant ceremony was described by the man himself as "an incredible, joyous occasion - the best day ever."

Federer is clearly loving his life. Now he needs to start loving his tennis once more.


Serena Williams will surrender her No. 1 ranking to Dinara Safina next week after being forced to pull out of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. Williams has been unable to shake off the leg injury she suffered in Miami and will lose all the points she won for winning in South Carolina 12 months ago.


The regal glamour of Monte Carlo makes its mark on the men's tour this week, with the leading lights of tennis set to strut their stuff in front of a crowd full of the rich and famous. The chance to witness this event live is a special experience for any tennis fan but be warned, it's not cheap.


A pair of former world No. 1s turned back the clock last week, with Lleyton Hewitt and Juan Carlos Ferrero both ending long title droughts. Hewitt returned to form with victory in Houston, breaking a two-year winless streak. Ferrero's wait was even longer, as he claimed his first tournament since 2003 to climb to 75th in the rankings.


Grand Prix Hassan II, Casablanca: Juan Carlos Ferrero
U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, Houston: Lleyton Hewitt
MPS Group Championships, Ponte Vedra Beach: Caroline Wozniacki
Andalucia Tennis Experience, Marbella: Jelena Jankovic


Rolex Masters, Monte Carlo:
Rafael Nadal
Family Circle Cup, Charleston: Venus Williams
Ladies Open, Barcelona: Anabel Medina Garrigues

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