Welcome to the Road to the National Bank Open. Every week, we will keep you updated on all the action on the ATP Tour as we build towards the National Bank Open in Montreal, which takes place from Aug. 8 to 14.
DAYS UNTIL THE NATIONAL BANK OPEN: 39
The third Grand Slam event of the tennis calendar is in full swing at Wimbledon with the top ATP Tour players vying for the most coveted and prestigious title in tennis on the famous grass courts of the All England Club.
With 7 of the top 11 men in the world already out of the draw before the conclusion of the second round, the path to the final is looking rather clear for the two big favourites and the top two seeds in the tournament, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard continues his pursuit of the Calendar Slam after winning the first two Majors of the season in Melbourne and Paris. His first-round victory at Wimbledon moved him into a tie for fourth place with Martina Navratilova on the list of most Grand Slam match wins in history with 306. Meanwhile, Djokovic is aiming to capture his fourth consecutive title in London. Will anyone be able to prevent yet another clash of the titans in the championship match next Sunday? Perhaps, but it will certainly be a tall order.
COVID-19 delivered a double blow to the draw before play even began as Matteo Berrettini and Milan Cilic, both former Wimbledon finalists, were forced to withdraw before they even played a point. No. 3 seed Casper Ruud, this year’s runner-up at Roland-Garros, was knocked out in round two by Ugo Humbert, who excels on grass.
It was a mixed bag of results for the Canadians early on with Denis Shapovalov putting an end to his six-match losing streak thanks to a five-set triumph over Arthur Rinderknech in the opening round. The 23-year-old now has an opportunity to make some noise on his favourite surface and on the sport’s biggest stage.
Félix Auger-Aliassime’s Wimbledon hopes were dashed in the first round by Maxime Cressy, a tricky serve-and-volley player who was always going to cause Auger-Aliassime problems, especially on grass. In the end, a tough draw did him no favours.
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ALCARAZ AND TSITSIPAS: THE BIGGEST CHALLENGERS?
The most likely candidate to prevent a Djokovic vs. Nadal final is an in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas, who won the first grass court title of his career last week in Mallorca. He’s flying somewhat under the radar, but his game translates well to the grass.
Carlos Alcaraz will be hoping his clay prowess translates to grass and lead to a deep Wimbledon march. He’s still unproven on the surface, but he has all the talent and the tools to thrive.
THE DARK HORSES
Nick Kyrgios, Taylor Fritz, Alex De Minaur, Jannik Sinner, Shapovalov, and the always dangerous John Isner could all play spoiler in preventing three of the top four seeds from reaching the final four. Plus, it’s already guaranteed that there will be a first-time semi-finalist in the top half of the draw.
MIXED DOUBLES FUN
The mixed doubles draws at the Grand Slams always feature some intriguing teams and this year’s Wimbledon is no different.
Venus Williams will make her much-anticipated return alongside Jamie Murray. American Jack Sock will team up with his compatriot Coco Gauff after he responded to her open invitation on Twitter. They will face the British duo of Olivia Nicholls and Kyle Edmund. The former world no. 14 is also on the comeback trail after recovering from multiple knee surgeries. He hasn’t played in nearly two years.
Kyrgios was so hungry following his five-set win in the first round that he brought dinner to his post-match press conference. That’s fine and all, but did he commit a big faux pas by eating his sushi with a fork?
Isner, who ousted Andy Murray in round two, had some very kind words for the legendary Brit during his Centre Court interview, much to the appreciation of the patrons in attendance.
Did you know that Soonwoo Kwon, who played Djokovic in the opening round on Centre Court, appeared in the Korean version of The Masked Singer? How about the sad car costume?
Don’t miss your chance to see the best ATP players up close this summer. Get your tickets now!