The Monte Carlo Rolex Masters is one of those tennis tournaments that every player in the World simply wants to compete in, it's a show piece for the sport due to the location and the esteem that surrounds anything to do with the French Riviera.
I have seen first hand the magnificence of this particular tennis club and a photo I took from high in the grandstand overlooking the centre court and the Mediterranean ocean is my most treasured memory from that trip in 1991.
Monte Carlo is everything you could imagine and obviously for the players it is a tournament that is high on the list of priorities as far as destinations are concerned, however being such a small draw ( 56 in Singles and 24 in Doubles ) it is as the tournament name suggests, one for the 'Masters' only.
So how does a team with a combined doubles ranking of 1032 'sneak' in to a tournament of this prestige ??
Romain Arneodo is from 'just down the road', Cannes to be more precise and he currently owns a ranking of 851 in the World in Mens Doubles.
Romain has won several Futures Doubles titles and in 2015 made it to the third round at Monte Carlo, once again in doubles, he appears to be a doubles exponent despite his current ranking. Romain this year has won $54. No that is not a mis print, he has won the equivalent of what a 'poor man's tennis coach' charges per hour.
Romain has teamed up this year with a player by the name of Hugo Nys who is currently ranked 181 in the World in Mens Doubles. Hugo is a resident of Monte Carlo, half his luck, Hugo has won just under 4 grand this year, much more than Romain but nothing to get too excited about.
Romain and Hugo I am sure would have felt like two school boys heading out for a kick of the soccer ball with David Beckham when they were granted a Wild Card into Monte Carlo to take on last year's US Open Mens Doubles runner up pairing of Garcia- Lopez and Carrena Busta of Spain in Round 1. Now those two can play doubles.
Now once again this is not a mis print, somehow two guys with a combined ranking of over 1000 won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 and in doing so secured themselves enough Euros to let the Unemployment Office in Monte Carlo know that they would be ok for a while ( $16,550 per team to be exact ).
Round two: Horia Tecau and Jean- Julian Rojer have been to at least the quarter finals of every Grand Slam event and won Wimbledon in 2015. Their combined doubles incomes over their careers works out to be just over seven million dollars and this year alone those two have won around $300,000 between them.
No Unemployment Office required for these two.
So this is what transpired in a match where I am sure the number 8 seeds would have already pencilled in as a 'certainty'.
How about a 7-5, 7-6 win to the two battlers from the French Riviera and a now guaranteed $32,010 Euros between them. What's the chances ??
Defying logic in tennis is a tough thing to do because the scale of ability at the top of the sport is outrageously high and unfortunately does not bring enough feel good stories to World Tennis on a regular basis.
When they do happen however it is something to behold because just like the story of Reda El Amrani at the Marrakech Open in Morrocco last week does, it gives the struggling players hope for the future that a break though is possible, you just have to believe.
It doesn't get any easier for Arneodo and Nys as they now take on the winner of the Murray/Soares- Haas/Huey match though their mind set now would be that they belong with the best and anything is possible.
Makes us all feel good when guys like this do well, it proves that perhaps more players should just ignore the names and play the ball, that seems to reward the ones who dare to dream.........