As the French Open approached, the 2014 edition of the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur was one of the final tournaments leading into the Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
The clay surfaces of the courts in Nice, France, were a great way for players to get ready for the subtle nuances at the French Open, and the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur was the perfect way for many players to build confidence and momentum heading into a major tournament.
While the field lacked many of the biggest names in the sport, there were plenty of recognizable faces looking to claim their stake on the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur championship.
It was No. 2 seed Ernests Gulbus that eventually walked away with the title.
Talented players like No. 1 seed John Isner, No. 3 seed Gael Monfils, No. 4 seed Gilles Simon and No. 5 seed Dmitry Tursunov all attempted to make a serious splash in this tournament, but failed to be victorious.
Isner told Kate Flory of ATPWorldTour.com during the Madrid Open about his play on clay and building momentum moving forward:
It’s been up and down [this season]. I’ve lost some first rounds, but in the tournaments where I’ve been able to win my first match, I’ve been able to keep on winning from there. I’m very pleased with the year so far. For me, it’s all about how I do outside of the United States, I need to do better and I’m off to a good start.
After the inaugural Open de Nice Cote d'Azur was won by Richard Gasquet in 2010, it was Nicolas Almagro who won back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. Albert Montanes was the defending 2013 tournament champion.
Many of the top players in the tournament were focused on getting ready for the French Open later this month, and the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur was the perfect warm-up for the athletes and the fans excited for the French Open.
*All stats and information via ATPWorldTour.com.