Monte-Carlo Masters: Novak Djokovic suffers shock defeat, Stefanos Tsitsipas through

Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Lorenzo Musetti in a rain-interrupted thriller, whilst reigning champion Stefanos Tsitsipas progressed comfortably at the Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday.

Whilst Djokovic has admitted that he is working his way into form at the beginning of the clay season, it was expected that the Monaco resident would have the better over his Italian opponent. Musetti, like all the Italians in action on Thursday, was well-supported, but that looked to count for little in the opening exchanges.

Djokovic edged the first set (6-4), but neither player could hold their serve (15 breaks of serve during the match), particularly at the end of a tense second set. Both players held in their first service games in the deciding third set before torrential rain suspended play. Many of the thousands of fans that packed the courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club (MCCC), who counted amongst their ranks Olympic Gold medalist Usain Bolt, headed for the exits. Perhaps, in hindsight, many regret that decision, with the thrilling tie later getting back underway.

Photo of Usain Bolt at the Monte-Carlo Masters by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

The rain may have stopped, but Djokovic’s troubles continued. Musetti made the decisive break in the seventh game of the third set, and saw out the victory, despite faltering towards the end of his final service game (6-4, 5-7, 4-6). It is the biggest win of Musetti’s young career, and his reward – an all-Italian quarter-final against Jannik Sinner. “The feeling is terrible after playing like this, honestly. We move on,” said Djokovic in a laconic post-match press conference.

Stefanos Tsitsipas into the quarter-finals

Unlike Djokovic, Monaco resident Tsitsipas is yet to come under pressure during this year’s tournament, he is yet to drop a set, and that run continued against Chilean Nicolás Jarry. The Greek player was prolific on his serve, albeit profligate in taking his break-point opportunities. Ultimately, that wastefulness (2/10 breakpoints) was of little consequence with a break per set enough to wrap the game up, and progress to the quarter-finals.

Prior to Tsitsipas’ victory, Sinner, Musetti’s quarter-final opponent, drew the crowds to the Court Rainier III in the opening slot. There has been a wealth of Italian talent on display at this year’s Monte-Carlo Masters, and they have been buoyed by the travelling Tifosi, who have been in good voice. The stands were awash with the Italian flag as Sinner progressed at the expense of Polish player Hubert Hurkacz in a three-set thriller (6-3, 6-7, 1-6).

Romain Arneodo and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn beat last year’s winners

In the doubles, Arneodo and his Austrian partner Tristan-Samuel Weissborn came into Thursday’s match high on confidence after beating a team consisting of former world number two Alexander Zverev on Wednesday.

Photo of Romain Arneodo and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

However, Arneodo’s serve was instantly put under pressure by the pairing of Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. However, the Anglophone pair didn’t take their chance, and they wouldn’t get many more.

Arneodo and Weissborn were in attack mode and broke twice, whilst the pressure on their own service games was reduced. Having taken the first set (6-2), there was no let-up. Arneodo and Weissborn broke in the third game of the second set before breaking them for a second time.

They then just had to serve out for the victory but missed all three of their match points on their way to being broken. Scare over, Arneodo and Weissborn wrestled back control, and broke in the next game to seal their progression to the quarter-final (6-2, 6-3).

Photo of Romain Arneodo and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

“I expected it to be a lot more difficult,” admitted Arneodo to Monaco Life post-match. “I thought if we were going to win it, it would have been a lot closer. I was a bit disappointed with their level, and it gives me a lot of confidence regarding the level of the game,” he continued.

Arneodo made the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters in 2017, alongside fellow Monaco player Hugo Nys. However, he isn’t thinking too far ahead. “We’re going step-by-step and we’ll see where that takes us. If we concentrate on the present, we can do great things,” said Arneodo.



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Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

France steps up anti-bullying measures in schools

france bullying

The French government has announced a series of new measures aimed at preventing and dealing with bullies at schools, following Monaco’s lead, which passed anti-bullying legislation in August last year.  

France started its campaign against harassment and bullying in 2017, and though it was a bit of a slow burn at first, efforts have recently been ramped up.  

Pap Ndiaye, France’s Minister of National Education and Youth, has now announced the strengthening of previous measures to prevent harassment, or in the case where it is too late for that, to deal with bullies effectively and quickly.  


Recent statistics show that one in 10 children has experienced some form of school bullying at one point or another. The damage it does can run deep and has led to desperation so entrenched that the victims have withdrawn, become depressed or, in extreme cases, committed suicide.  

The government has defined school bullying as “repetitive physical, verbal or psychological violence perpetrated by one or more students against one of their classmates”, which covers pretty much all bases, but now additional terms have been laid out to clarify any grey areas.  


Firstly, the pHARe programme, the current anti-bullying plan, will be extended to include secondary schools, with the goal of reaching 100% of schools from the start of next school year. At present, 86% of colleges and 60% of schools overall are registered, which is strong, but not entirely comprehensive, leaving some students to fall between the cracks.  

The government will also reiterate the use of dedicated emergency hotline numbers – 3020 for harassment and 3018 for cyberbullying – as ways for victims or witnesses of bullying to send evidence of incidents to authorities to better help those being bullied.  

Teacher training will also be stepped up, with the National Higher Institutes of Teaching and Education (INSPE) and the Academic Schools of Continuing Education (EAFC) participating in programmes to prepare teachers to recognise and take action against harassers. 

The government is also looking to proactively bring parents and students together to try and resolve differences and end bad behaviours, but failing this, school officials will be given extra powers to remove perpetrators from the school.


Monaco has had an anti-bullying law on the books since August 2022, as reported by Monaco Life, and has similar methods in place, but goes further in that an “appropriate and dissuasive criminal response” can be enacted in cases where the bullying has been repetitive or extreme.  


New school bullying law to come into effect in September


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Photo source: Road Ahead for Unsplash


New Ambassador of Monaco to the Republic of Poland

Lorenzo Ravano, Ambassador of the Principality of Monaco, has presented his Letters of Credence to Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, during a ceremony held at the Belvedere Palace, Presidential Residence, in Warsaw.

During the private audience that followed the ceremony, the Polish President first discussed the situation in Ukraine, emphasising Poland’s historical past vis-à-vis Russia.

According to a statement by the Monaco Government, Lorenzo Ravano recalled the condemnation by Prince Albert of the military aggression against Ukraine, as well as his call for a ceasefire and respect for international law and the territorial integrity of States.

The Ambassador also mentioned the Principality’s systematic application of international sanctions and, at the humanitarian level, mentioned the chain of solidarity put in place by the Monegasque Red Cross and civil society, both by sending help and by welcoming many Ukrainians to the Principality since the start of the conflict.

In addition, he reaffirmed the importance that H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince attaches to multilateralism and to Monaco’s role in promoting respect for fundamental rights and freedoms within international organisations. In this regard, Mr. Ravano welcomed the way in which Poland held the presidency in 2022 of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (O.S.C.E.) in an unprecedented context.

In addition, other bilateral subjects were also discussed, including the strengthening of economic relations in areas such as FinTech, artificial intelligence or sustainable yachting, as well as the need to cooperate with a view to making a transition to sustainable energy, made even more essential by the current geopolitical context.

President Andrzej Duda, meanwhile, praised the personal commitment of Prince Albert and the action of his Government in the preservation of the environment and the fight against climate change.

Following the presentation of the Letters of Credence and as tradition dictates, the Ambassador laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, Piłsudski Square, during a solemn ceremony in the presence of the Warsaw Garrison.


Photo: H.E. Lorenzo Ravano, Ambassador of the Principality of Monaco, presented his Letters of Credence to H.E. Mr. Andrzej DUDA, President of the Republic of Poland, during a ceremony held at the Belvedere Palace, Presidential Residence, in Warsaw, source Monaco Government




“The next pages of history”: Olivier Thomas arrives at the Hôtel de Paris as new Managing Director

olivier thomas

The Hôtel de Paris has found its new Managing Director in Olivier Thomas, a newcomer to the Société des Bains de Mer Group but a seasoned head of luxury hotels worldwide, following the departure of Ivan Artolli.  

Frenchman Olivier Thomas stepped into the shoes of “Leading Legend” Ivan Artolli at the Hôtel de Paris on 10th April.  

“I’m really honoured to arrive in Principality of Monaco in the most beautiful way, by [the] Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo door,” said Thomas. “I’m really proud to join Group Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer and to become the General Manager of the emblematic Palace of Casino Square. I’m thrilled to lead its professional and passionate teams, which embody excellence [in] the quality of service and to write next pages of the history of this amazing hotel.” 

Prior to this prestigious posting, Thomas was the Managing Director of the Four Seasons Hotel in Abu Dhabi and also opened the Four Seasons in Casablanca and ran the Four Seasons Hotels in Prague in the Czech Republic and Aman in Jordan. Other career highlights include: eight years at the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Group, where he ran the St Regis Hotel in New York and worked along Chef Alain Ducasse; and positions at Savoy Hotel in London and the Plaza Athénée in New York.  

Thomas’ predecessor Artolli, who oversaw the €280 million renovations of the Hôtel de Paris and in November 2022 won the Leading Legend Award, a distinction that recognised his passion to the industry over three incredible decades, has moved on to “new projects” after nearly seven years at the Hôtel de Paris.  


Ivan Artolli: The “legend” leading the Hôtel de Paris


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Photo courtesy of SBM

Padel: Ex-professional footballers Gianluca Zambrotta and Gaël Givet to participate in Five Padel Cup

It’s the season of racquet sports in Monaco, and whilst the Monte-Carlo Masters is still in full swing, the inaugural edition of the Five Padel Cup is set to get underway, with former international footballers Gianluca Zambrotta and Gaël Givet in the line-up. 

The action kicks off at the Èze Tennis Club on Tuesday 18th April, with other events related to the tournament taking place in Monaco from Monday 17th April. The tournament will meld both professional and amateur elements. Whist professional players in the mixed, men’s, women’s and wheelchair disciplines will participate, notably Niçois player Dorian Navarro, stars from across the spectrum of sport will also be present to promote the emerging sport that is Padel.

Notably, two Barbaguians teams will be present, one of which will include Givet, a former France international, who competed in the Champions League final with AS Monaco back in 2004.

“I immediately liked this discipline. It is technically easy to learn and the joy of playing came quickly. The Five Padel Cup allows former professional sportsmen to get together and promote Padel,” said Givet.

Other members of the Barbagiuans team, most commonly associated with the charitable Fight AIDS Cup football match, will be announced in due course.

“We are very grateful for the availability of these players to take part in the Barbaguians events, and, in fact, to defend the causes that affect us,” said Barbagiuans president Louis Ducruet.

Zambroatta, who featured almost 100 times for the Italian national football team, and who played for clubs such as Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan, will also participate in the event, organised by BSG SRL Rome.



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Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unspalsh


Christie’s Chagall auction rakes in over €5 million, more than triple the anticipated sales

christie's chagall

Every single lot at the recent Christie’s online Marc Chagall auction was sold. It was a resounding success that saw the total sales comfortably top the €5 million mark against the conservative pre-auction estimate of just over €1.5 million.  

All-in-all, the 50 Chagall pieces that went under the gavel between 27th March and 11th April by auction house Christie’s pulled in an astounding €5,370,750 in sales.  

Marc Chagall was a huge influencer back in the days before anyone even knew what that meant.  

An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and his works covered several artistic formats, including paintings, drawings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries and fine art prints. 

The Russian-French artist made Saint-Paul-de-Vence his home for the last two decades of his life, dying there at the ripe old age of 97 in 1985. Alongside other renowned artists of his time, such as Picasso and Matisse, he found the light of the south of France irresistible and created some wonderful masterpieces whilst living there.  

Exceeded expectations

Most of the works auctioned came from the latter part of the artist’s life, after he returned to France having lived in exile in the United States during World War II. Even as he grew old, his themes remained light and whimsical, though never same-same, with colour and light determining the contours and contrasts of each work.  

Ahead of the event, sales estimates were set at between €1,523,700 and €2,288,700, but as the last of the bidding ended, it was clear those numbers were far from the reality. Every item sold and sold above the individual expected prices.

One example is the painting Violoncelliste rouge et bouc jaune dans le ciel sombre from 1981, which sold for an astounding €352,000, far above the expected €120,000 to €180,000.  

christie's chagall
Violoncelliste rouge et bouc jaune dans le ciel sombre from 1981. Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Another, the 1958 Étude pour “Commedia dell’arte” pictured in the main image and created for the foyer of the Frankfurt Theatre, was thought to be worth between €4,000 and €6,000. In fact, it went for 10 times that at €52,920. 

A second auction planned for later this year 

Another auction will take place in October, when Christie’s New York will present Chagall anew with Colour of Life: Prints and Artist’s Books Formerly from the Artist’s Estate. Celebrating Chagall’s life-long love of printmaking, the sale will feature works from the 1920s to the 1970s, and will include several rare hand-coloured proofs. 


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Photos courtesy of Christie’s