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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday, August 7, 2022


Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are out and opportunity abounds as world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev headlines the field in Montreal.

Photo credit: Getty

The hard court action will heat up significantly this week in Canada with 1000-level events in Toronto (WTA) and Montreal (ATP), as the players begin a two-week grind that will start at the National Bank Open and finish with the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Let’s have a look at the key talking points for the men in Montreal.

Tennis Express

See the full National Bank Open Toronto Draw Here.

Medvedev running hot on hard courts

Fresh off his first title of 2022 (14th overall), won this weekend in Los Cabos Mexico impressively (d. Cameron Norrie in the final), Russia’s Daniil Medvedev will look to ramp up his preparations for the US Open by continuing to enforce his status as one of the world’s premier hard court players.

Medvedev, who notched his 250th ATP win in Los Cabos last week, owns a 202-69 record on hard courts, and has won 13 of his 14 titles on his favorite surface. Summer has always been a special season for the 26-year-old Russian – and hard court has always been a special surface for him.

Canada has been good to Medvedev as well – he’s the defending champion at the event, having won the title at Toronto last year (d. Opelka in the final). He has won nine of his last ten matches north of the border, in total (Medvedev lost to Nadal in the 2019 final at Montreal).

Things could get tricky early for the World No.1 in Toronto, however. He’ll face the winner of Nick Kyrgios and Sebastian Baez in the second round. Medvedev is slated to face [8] Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals if the seeds hold, and either [4] Casper Ruud or [6] Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semis.

Kyrgios is 2-1 lifetime against Medvedev but it was the Russian who won the pair’s last encounter as he powered to this year’s Australian Open final.


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No Rafa, No Nole

Fans in Montreal will have to root for their favorite next gen players as the Big 3 will not have a footprint this year in Montreal. Novak Djokovic officially pulled out last week, due to the fact that he has chosen to remain unvaccinated and Canadian border policies will not allow him to enter the country. Nadal, on the mend since Wimbledon, where he pulled out with an ab injury, also pulled out after feeling pain in the area during practice this week.

“I have been practicing for a while now without serving and started with serves four days ago,” said Nadal in a statement. “Everything has been going well. However yesterday, after my normal practice, I felt a slight bother on my abdominal and today it was still there.

“After speaking with my doctor, we prefer to take things in a conservative way and give a few more days before starting to compete. I would like to thank Eugene, the Tournament Director, and all his team for understanding and supporting me and this decision.”

Perhaps fans will want to go the Big 4 or Big 5 route - both Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are in the draw, on the comeback trail, and facing significant challenges in their opening round matches (more on both a bit later).

Italian derby in the round of 16?

Of note in the bottom half is a potential round of 16 clash between [7] Jannik Sinner and [11] Matteo Berrettini. Both players will play their first hard court events since the Miami Open, and both figure to play a large role in the search for contenders leading into the US Open. Berrettini, who had to pull out of Wimbledon due to Covid, reached the final on the clay in Gstaad before falling to Casper Ruud.

Sinner who swept his way to the Umag final, defeating Carlos Alcaraz in the final, has never faced Berrettini at the ATP level.

First-round matches we’re excited about

Sebastian Baez v Nick Kyrgios
Denis Shapovalov v Alex de Minaur
Stan Wawrinka v Emil Ruusuvuori
Alexander Bublik v Jenson Brooksby
Andy Murray v [10] Taylor Fritz

Main draw play begins Monday, August 8th in Montreal.


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