D No2 Andy Murray is set to open his clay court season today against Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the Monte Carlo Masters second round, as he begins a journey he hopes will culminate in winning the French Open in June.
Murray has previously acknowledged his game is weakest on clay but, fresh from winning the Sony Open on the hard courts of Miami last month and having shaken off a back injury that dogged him throughout the 2012 season, the Scot looks in good shape to challenge Rafael Nadal’s dominance at Roland Garros.
The Spanish world No5 has won seven of the last eight French Open championships and has triumphed in Monte Carlo eight years in a row, beating Murray in the 2009 and 2011 semi-finals.
With Murray seeded second and Nadal third, the pair could meet again in the semi-final this year.
But first Murray must take on 29-year-old Roger-Vasselin, whom he beat in straight sets at last year’s Australian Open.
The Frenchman, ranked No81 in the world, upset Holland’s Robin Haase in round one, winning 6-3 6-2, and will be backed by home support in the last match of the day scheduled for Court Central.
World No1 Novak Djokovic is also set to begin his campaign today against Mikhail Youzney of Russia, despite fears he would pull out because of an ankle injury suffered at the Davis Cup recently.