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Road to the NBO...

Road to the NBO Montreal : Here we go!

It’s the last week of tournaments before the 2023 National Bank Open.

While Valérie Tétreault and her team are settling the final details before the players and fans arrive, the secondary courts at IGA Stadium are hosting a pre-qualifying tournament for Canadians.

In the meantime, while not everyone in the WTA is back from holidays after Wimbledon, the World No. 1 isn’t letting up.

DAYS UNTIL THE NATIONAL BANK OPEN: 2

On-court action

There’s no place like home

Photo : Czarek Sokolowski/Associated Press

A tornado swept the Polish capital last week.

And as you can see from the pic, it had nothing to do with the weather. A local kid, who also happens to be the best in the world, had an uncomplicated run to the crown in her hometown.

Read also: Meet the WTA Top 10 Ahead of the National Bank Open

In splendid form at her first tournament since Wimbledon, Iga Swiatek dominated the courts: she played ten sets in five matches and won 61 of 85 games. In the final, she crushed Laura Siegemund 6-0, 6-1.

Photo : François Asal/Panoramic

With her sights set on adding a fifth title to her trophy case this season, Iga will now focus on training ahead of her trip to Montréal.

Her 2023 record of 46–7 so far is as shiny as the winner’s cup and dish she took home from the BNP Paribas Warsaw Open.

While another championship for Iga may seem routine, it was a whole new ballgame for 19-year-old Noma Noha Akugue, who competed in her very first WTA main draw at the Hamburg European Open and ended up playing her way to the final.

Photo : Hamburg European Open

Born in a Hamburg suburb to parents who emigrated from Nigeria to Germany, she was ranked No. 207 when she made fantastic use of her wild card and unleashed some very impressive tennis on five higher-ranked players.

Photo : Getty

Over the week, she ousted No. 142 Laura Pigossi, No. 154 Storm Hunter, No. 76 Martina Trevisan and No. 101 Diana Shnaider. In the ultimate showdown, she was overpowered by No. 60 Arantxa Rus, who clinched her first WTA title.

Stories to watch

Photo : Hartru.com

The WTA wraps up its NBO prep in Prague and Washington this week.

The Mubadala Citi DC Open is the toughest of the two with the top four seeds being No. 4 Jessica Pegula, No. 5 Caroline Garcia, No. 7 Coco Gauff and No. 9 Maria Sakkari.

No. 44 Bianca Andreescu pocketed a wild card, and No. 86 Leylah Fernandez fought her way in thanks to qualifying wins over No. 43 Varvara Gracheva and No. 74 Katie Boulter.

Read also: Meet the Canadian Women Competing in Montreal

In Montréal, Tennis Canada is holding a pre-qualifying tournament on the outer courts at IGA Stadium with the last entry for the NBO qualifying event on August 5 and 6 on the line.

Photo : Paul Rivard

There are 16 players in the mix including the top four seeds Marina Stakusic, Bianca Jolie Fernandez (Leylah’s younger sister), Jessica Alsola and Martyna Ostrzygalo.

Sisters Annabelle and Noami Xu, Catherine Gagnon, Alessia Cau, Scarlett Nicholson, Anna Raphaelle Serghi, Raphaëlle Leroux, Orly Ogilvy, Mia Kupres, Treah Chavez, Nadia Lagaev and Alexia Jacobs are also competing.

Off-court buzz

Raducanu's Coaching Carousel

Photo : AFP

A new coach every six months? Giving precedence to different experiences and styles over the stability of a long-term relationship?

Read also: Meet the Familiar Faces Who Will Play in Montreal

While it may not seem like the right strategy to you, it’s the one Emma Raducanu, who’s 24–27 in the 19 months since her win at Flushing Meadows, prefers.

At least that’s what her super-agent Max Eisenbud said on the Tennis Podcast on July 24.

Photo : Reuters

“It’s probably going to be like that for the rest of her career. That’s what’s comfortable for them. I’m not saying it is right or wrong. But that is the way they have done it, and I think it is fine to do things differently,” he said, unsurprisingly. He is on the Raducanu payroll, after all.

Photos : Getty/Reuters/AFP

Andrew Richardson, Nigel Sears, Torben Beltz, Dmitry Tursunov, Sebastian Sachs.

Since Richardson posed with Emma and her US Open trophy back in September 2021, four coaches have come and gone.

Read also: Wozniacki and Andreescu kick off their National Bank Open on Tuesday August 8

Is four too many?

No, repeated Eisenbud. “People need to get over it,” he added, noting that Emma and Nigel Sears parted ways after she reached the fourth round of Wimbledon before her run in NYC with Richardson. She then dropped Andrew Richardson and rehired Sears.

This isn’t Max Eisenbud’s first rodeo. He also represented Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Na Li.

Photo : Getty

In the interview, he confirmed that Emma and her father Ian control everything that has to do with coaching. They see coaches as university professors, and it’s Emma’s job as a student to absorb as much information as possible from each one before moving on to another. The Raducanus have been firing and hiring coaches every four or five months since Emma was a junior.

Photo : REX/Shutterstock

“Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, had his own philosophy, which was different. And Yuri Sharapov, father of Maria, had his,” concluded Eisenbud.

The WTA's best return to Montreal this summer for the National Bank Open August 4 to 13 at IGA Stadium. Tickets are on sale. Get your tickets today!