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The five most memorable moments from the NBO in Montréal since 2000

Montréal has been the stage of incredible matches and especially of incredible moments that are etched in our collective tennis memory.

Looking back on the NBO’s more recent past, here’s my ranking of the five most memorable moments at IGA Stadium since the turn of the 21st century.

You’ll notice some local favourites in the mix: a Canadian hero story is always extra special.

5 – 2003: Simon Larose stuns Gustavo Kuerten

Photo : Reuters

There had been major Canadian upsets before, but the one Simon Larose pulled off at home in 2003 was MAJOR.

Read also: Rivalries in the Spotlight at Wimbledon

The No. 314 was up against three-time Grand Slam champion (RG) and former No. 1 (2000) Gustavo Kuerten. Battling his Brazilian opponent, the Quebecer had the entire stadium on its feet as he secured a 7-5, 7-6(2) triumph.

In the next round, Simon gained another win against No. 80 Jose Acasuso before he was stopped in his tracks by Andre Agassi (6-4, 6-2).

4 – 2005: Rafa cements his status

Photo : AP

Already an ATP prodigy at 19, a young Rafael Nadal made his way to Montréal with eight brand-new titles, all earned on clay.

Read also: Louis Borfiga to be Inducted Into the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame

It was here that he broke the ice (read: the hard courts) when he knocked out the mythical Andre Agassi (6-3, 4-6, 6-2). The Canadian crown was one of eleven winner’s trophies he took home that season—the most productive of his career.

Photo : AP

In May, I revisited the Masters triumph that marked the start of Nadal’s brilliant hard court run.

3 – 2007: Novak goes three for three

Photo : UPI

At the height of the Rafa–Roger rivalry, a young Serb by the name of Novak Djokovic was just emerging. At the time, few would’ve predicted he’d establish the Big Three, much less overtake the other two and reign supreme as the men’s tennis GOAT.

Photo : CP

At the 2007 NBO, he went three for three in a feat that hadn’t been achieved since Boris Becker in 1994. Already the World No. 4 at 20, Djokovic disposed of No. 3 Andy Roddick in the quarters, No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semis and No. 1 Roger Federer in the final.

You can relive it all here in just 15 minutes:

2 – 2013: Milos vs. Vasek in an all-Canadian semi

Photo : La Presse

It was a clash tournament organizers had only dreamed of so late in the game. On August 10, 2013, No. 13 Milos Raonic went head-to-head against his countryman No. 70 Vasek Pospisil.

Photos : Dominic Couture

Two Canadians hadn’t collided at an ATP event since 1990, when Martin Wostenholme ran into Andrew Sznajder in Rio.

Read also: Milos Raonic Holds All the Aces

The historic and hard-fought NBO semi went on for two hours and 16 minutes until Raonic managed to get the upper hand (6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4)).

In the final (which could have made this list), Milos lost to Rafa Nadal, 6-2, 6-2.

1 – 2017: Hurricane Shapo

Denis Shapovalov came through the 2017 NBO like a hurricane. A year after winning the junior championships at Wimbledon and just a few months after a less impressive result at Davis Cup, the young Canadian entered the tournament with a wildcard. In the second round, he upset veteran Juan Martin del Potro and then crossed paths with the legend himself, Rafael Nadal.

Photo : CP

In a Canadian tennis fairytale, Denis had the crowds roaring as he disposed of the No. 1 seed at the outcome of a nearly three-hour three-setter (2:46; 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4)).

Photo : Reuters

To this day, Shapo is still the youngest player to reach the quarters of the NBO since Bjorn Borg in 1974 (!) and the lowest-ranked player (No. 143) to find his way to the quarters of a Masters since 2011.

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: CP