Tennis Vacation: Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 1000 in Monaco

Memories of Monaco

Each April, I would set my alarm to wake up early on Sunday when it was time to watch Rafael Nadal. He would play whoever else was the other finalist.  I remember sitting at home and tuning into Tennis Channel, glued to seeing clay court genius in full glory. I was so used to hearing the Spanish National Anthem played every Sunday in April.

The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 1000 was always the leadoff tournament on the road to Roland Garros - the unofficial start of Spring Tennis in Europe.

Monte-Carlo Country Club (MCCC)

The grandeur of the principality in Monaco.
The royalty in attendance.
The elegance of the ocean coast.

The beauty of the clay courts.
Residence to many tennis stars.
Wealthy elites sitting on "Billionaire row" at the M.C.C.C.



The Monte-Carlo Poster

Back in 2017, on a trip to Vietnam with my parents, I saw the Monte Carlo poster below.

It was inside a passport office in Manhattan. I was delayed 24 hours in NYC after I lost my passport at JFK. Retracing my steps in every terminal and shuttle for hours, I had only my driver's license and was in another state. I consulted my options and had to sleep there, 2nd time at a NY airport overnight. Then in the morning, took the first train to Manhattan to apply for a new one when the office opened.

There it was, the Monte-Carlo poster (pictured below) hanging on the wall at a passport office in NYC. Fortunately, a half-day later I was able to get back to JFK and continue that SE Asia trek. But I knew it was a sign from the tennis gods I had to go pay my respects one day to this small strip of land by the sea.

The poster that hung in my bedroom - inspiring me to visit one day!

In 2018, I arrived in Monte-Carlo via Zurich - during the Snowman Spring Festival - Sächsilüüte.

The recommendation was to fly into Nice, France, get an AirBnB near the train station, and then take the daily train ride a few stops to the tournament location.

But then I thought: wouldn't it be nice to stay somewhere you could see the tournament from one of those balconies they film above the tournament even for just a couple nights? For memories of a lifetime, it was worth a shot and a worthwhile business investment.

Above is a satellite view with my AirBnB reservation highlighted in the purple box. Since it was my first and possibly last chance to go, I had to check if this opportunity was possible. The daily lodging prices in the area during the tennis tournament were usually around $400-$1000+/night.

I searched for accommodations near the tournament and noticed there was one duplex with an amazing balcony that overlooked the clay courts! Confirming on Google Maps and various angles, I made sure.

As a fellow AirBnB host, I chatted with Jessica, the vacation homeowner from Milan. Offering some freelance photography and marketing skills, I was able to secure a very sweet deal at her vacation home for a couple of nights it would be vacant. It was a dream location and the ideal private spot for any tennis super fan.

The views as you can see are breathtaking. I could hear and see the tennis action from the balcony. Each morning, I would wake up before sunset to capture some time-lapse videos, watching the cruise ships sail into port and drop off passengers at the famous Casino.


AirBnB in Monaco - Welcome up to the roof deck



Walking down the hill to the Monte Carlo Country Club


Stopping along the way for food at breakfast and lunch

Practice Court view from the clay ground level


Court de Princes - side stadium court

Monte-Carlo Tennis Ball from the pro practice session


Rafael Nadal - King of Clay

Canadian Teachers - #1 Rafa super fan on the right

Rafa's sister (?) at the Rafa Nadal Academy booth

Rafael Nadal Academy Booth

I spoke to a very pretty blonde girl at the booth. Some remarked she looked like Rafa's sister - I wasn't sure at the time. She suggested that I go check it out in the Autumn after summer break is over and the kids are back in school. 

She noted it is usually less crowded if I wanted to write a review or recommend tennis students to go visit. I ended up visiting the Academy after the Barcelona tournament the following year.

My promo code "JCTENNIS" gives you 10% OFF at the Mallorca HQ.
In 2021, they announced new Rafa summer camps coming to the USA this June and July 2021 in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Miami. My "JCTENNIS" discount code works for Miami on July 12-17.


Exploring Monaco








Go here to get the official Monaco Seal stamp on your Passport!

French Riviera - Nice, Antibe, Cannes 

Nice, France is a beautiful seaside town a hand full of train stops away. For a few hours, I signed up for a really fun Segway tour and enjoyed it very much with a group of young students. A great way to get up and down the steep hills and explore a lot of ground in a few hours.



Red, white, and blue lighted dancing fountains

A very scenic and laid-back coastal town - Nice offers many shops, museums, and parks. A great way to spend any Spring afternoon or catch the sunset by the ocean.

At night, there are plenty of delicious French restaurants with street performers playing music outdoors.

With an extra few days in Frace, I took day trips to nearby Antibes and other port cities on the French Riviera. If you're shopping for beautiful yachts on the water, there are always plenty to see everywhere. 

I caught this golden sunrise photo after arriving at Antibes and surveying the old castle walls that surround the old city.


On the last day of my trip, I overheard that there would be a Red Bull air race taking place in Cannes. Normally this is where the red-carpet events are held for the Cannes Film Festival. That year Solo was shown early at the festival.

The red bull air race was going to be the first-ever in France, so after dropping off my bags at the airport, I decided to go attend the event for a few hours. Why not? When in France!

Transportation from the airport and back was a bit of a mess but I am really glad I took a chance and got to go check it out for the day. All event drinks and merchandise had cashless payments. When walking down the beach, you could see large crowds gather to see the fast planes race around the pylons with their smoke trails.

Cannes - Red Bull - Air Race



Overall, an excellent tennis trip week plus extra tourist time on the Cote d'Azur!


See the Media Photos for Monte Carlo Tennis

Here's another tennis (Federer) fan's perspective of MCCC @ perfect-tennis.

In 2017, I was in Rome at the Italian Open for that clay-court season.