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ATP Tournament Preview & Outright Picks: Houston, Marrakech, and Estoril Heralds Start of Clay Swing

Our ATP preview centers around the stars of men’s tennis switching surfaces to the continental clay of North America, Africa, and Europe in April.

It’s that time of the year again. The clay-court swing begins in earnest in April, with three ATP tournaments, on three different continents running from April 3 – 9, 2023. Let us quickly delve into our bite-sized weekly ATP Tournament Preview and Outright Picks.


The U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, better known as ATP Houston, is the only clay-court tournament on the ATP Tour that is played in the United States.

It is the 53rd edition of the tournament on the main tour and will be played at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas.

It boasts a 28-field draw in singles with a total prize purse of $642,735. Six of the top eight seeds are Americans, with Frances Tiafoe being the top-seeded player in the draw.

Reilly Opelka is the defending champion, but won’t return to defend his title as he has yet to recover from a hip injury.

Former champion John Isner will look to put his disappointment of missing out on silver in February by streaking to his second title.

Other players to watch in the draw include Tommy Paul and Cristian Garin, who have each impressed in 2023.

Predicted tournament winner: Cristian Garin


Running concurrently with the other two tournaments in the first week of April is the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, Morocco.

It was inaugurated as an ATP Tour tournament in 1990 and is the only Tour-level event hosted on African soil.

The ATP 250 event will welcome eight of the world’s top 50 players in its 28-man singles draw, being led by Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti.

With Musetti out of form, plenty of names have the potential to spring a surprise.

Nicolas Jarry (title winner in Santiago) is a very interesting pick in the outrights.

Tallon Griekspoor, who is the fourth seed, has amassed nine career titles on the Challenger Tour on the red dirt and has recently broken his duck on the main tour in Pune.

Predicted tournament winner: Tallon Griekspoor


The Millennium Estoril Open will be the first tournament on the European continent to kick off the traditional clay-court swing once again.

The event is staged on the Portuguese Riviera in Cascais at the Clube de Ténis do Estoril.

The 28-man singles draw is led by World No. 4 Casper Ruud who will be looking to bag the 10th ATP 250 title of his career. The event has a prize purse of €562,815.

Since its inception on the main tour in 2015, the Spaniards have dominated the winners’ podium with three titlists.

And with former champion Albert Ramos Vinolas and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (has played a fine year so far) in the mix, do not be surprised to see either make it to final Sunday.

The tournament will also see the return of Sebastian Korda who hasn’t played since retiring with a wrist injury in the quarterfinal of the Australian Open. Korda won his first and thus far only ATP title on the red clay in Palermo.

Predicted tournament winner: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

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