The Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro will stage the most prominent men's tennis tournament in South America for the sixth time between February 18-24, joining the ATP Tour in 2014 when Rafael Nadal claimed the inaugural title.
David Ferrer, Pablo Cuevas, Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman also secured their name on the list of champions, with a solid field ready to fight for the crown in the third week of February on the Guga Kuerten Court. We never had the Brazilian champion in Rio and things might change in two weeks, at least in doubles, though, with Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares forging a team for the first time since Stockholm 2016!
Bruno and Marcelo won four ATP titles together between 2010-12 and they didn't have a chance together outside Davis Cup for the last couple of season, with Soares finding the perfect partner in Jamie Murray and Melo who claimed ten titles in 2017 and 2018 with Lukasz Kubot.
Both Kubot and Murray couldn't travel to Brazil that week, clearing the space for Melo and Soares who will try to make the home crowd happy and go all the way. On Saturday, Bruno and Marcelo appeared on the court together in the national jersey for the 16th time but the outcome wasn't good, losing in straight sets to Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen to suffer the fourth loss in 16 Davis Cup ties they have played together.
Back in 2016, they had lost in the semi-final of Rio de Janeiro to Pablo Carreno Busta and David Marrero and they will now try to go two steps further and win the title, something the tournament director Luiz Carvalho is undoubtedly hoping to happen.
Due to a back injury, Melo was forced to skip the Australian swing while Soares won the title in Sydney with Murray, followed by the quarter-final run at the Australian Open.