Skip to main content directly
Montreal: August 3, 2024 - August 12, 2024
Toronto: August 4, 2024 - August 12, 2024
Montreal : August 3 - 12, 2024
Toronto : August 4 - 12, 2024

Rafael Nadal’s Unforgettable First in Montréal

He’ll always be the uncontested King of Clay.

And as it turns out, Rafael Nadal also does okay on the hard courts. His highest winning percentage is on the dirt (479-48, 91 per cent), but he’s won more matches on concrete (518-150, 78 per cent).

Photo : Bleacher Report

It was in Montréal that he earned his very first hard court crown. Back in 2005, he took down Andre Agassi (6-3, 4-6, 6-2) in what the press dubbed a clash of generations. Against the Las Vegas Kid, he was masterful.

Now we know he was just getting started. The title was one of 11 ATP winner’s trophies Nadal raised that season. With 79 conquests, he was second only to Federer, firmly established at No. 1, with 81 victories.

He’s also second only to Ivan Lendl, who has six Canadian titles versus his five (2005, 2008, 2013, 2018, 2019). 

Photo : Tennis Canada

In 2019, current tournament director Valérie Tétreault handed Rafa his most recent NBO hardware after he sunk Daniil Medvedev (6-3, 6-0).

Read also: Larger than life!

Let’s take one more look back, this time at his third of five. The 2013 final was one of the rare times he had to make do without the crowds, who were too busy cheering for the other guy—their very own Milos Raonic.

Photo : Radio-Canada

Unfortunately, the confrontation ended up feeling a lot like a tennis clinic for the Torontonian, who was toppled 6-2, 6-2. Still, his final berth was a true gift for organizers and Canadian tennis fans everywhere.

Heroes at home

Photo : Bernard Brault/La Presse

On the eve of the Rafa-Milos clash, one match in particular proved to be a stroke of Canadian Open history.

On August 13, 2013, you could’ve sworn there was a whiff of maple syrup in the air at IGA Stadium. For the very first time in the Open Era, two Canadians had found their way to the semi of their home event. It was also the first all-Canadian battle at an ATP tournament since Martin Wostenholme took on Andrew Sznajder in Rio in 1990!

Photo : Dominic Couture

The wildcard (Pospisil) and 11th seed (Raonic) were part of six-man delegation with Frank Dancevic, Jesse Levine, Filip Peliwo and Peter Polansky.

Photo : Graham Hughes/CP

Pospisil, then No. 71, made surprisingly quick work of John Isner (No. 20) and proceeded to storm through the draw, ousting Radek Stepanek (No. 51) and Tomas Berdych (No. 6). He caught a break in the quarters when Nikolay Davydenko (No. 47) bowed out at 0-3 in the opening set.

Photo : CP & Reuters

As for Raonic, then No. 13, he overpowered Jérémy Chardy (No. 28), Mikhail Youzhny (No. 25), Juan Martin del Potro (No. 7) and Ernests Gulbis (No. 38).

Read also: Tennis Canada to celebrate June as first-ever Tennis Month in Canada

In the end, the historic and hotly contested semifinal took 2 hours, 16 minutes to settle, culminating in a W for Milos (6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4)). Despite Nadal’s superstar status and third triumph, the Canadian showdown was the highlight of the 2013 tournament.

The ATP's best return to Montreal this summer for the National Bank Open August 3 to 12, 2024 at IGA Stadium. 2024 Tickets are on sale. Get your tickets today!

Feature Photo : AP