Tennis Canada announced today that two-time National Bank Open presented by Rogers champion, Simona Halep, will be coming back to the Montréal tournament. The Romanian, who won her two titles in Montreal in 2016 and 2018, will be making her ninth career appearance at the event.
On the sidelines since the Italian Open because of a calf injury, Halep, who is currently 10th in the world rankings, will be offered a main draw wild card.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Montréal for the first time since winning my second title there in 2018,” said Simona Halep. “I’ve been working hard to prepare for the North American swing so I’m excited to accept this wild card from the Omnium Banque Nationale. The fans in Montréal always create a great atmosphere so I’m happy to hear we will have support from the stands.”
The WTA wild card that she received is an invitation extended only to former World No.1s, players who were ranked in the Top 20 at the end of 2020 and those who have won a Grand Slam, the WTA Finals or a WTA 1000 title in their career.
Two other wild cards will also be issued to Canadian players by the start of the tournament, while a third one was already given to Leylah Annie Fernandez earlier this month.
Withdrawals for Barty, Kerber and Venus Williams
Tennis Canada also announced that Australian Ashleigh Barty (1st), German Angelique Kerber (21st) and American Venus Williams (109th) are withdrawing from the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montréal.
“My team and I have made the decision to withdraw from the National Bank Open in Montréal to have a few weeks to rest and recover from the heavy schedule of the last month,” said Ashleigh Barty. “While it saddens me that I won’t be able to go this year, I fully intend to come back when the tour returns to Montréal in 2023. Thank you to the tournament team for your support, I wish you the best for a successful event.”
As for Angelique Kerber, she mentioned that she unfortunately needs more time to prepare for her return to the competition. Finally, Venus Williams, who had previously received a wild card for the event, cited health reasons to explain her withdrawal from the tournament.
“We are obviously disappointed that Ashleigh, Angelique and Venus will not be with us this year. They are exceptionally talented players and fans were obviously eager to see them in action,” said Eugène Lapierre, director of the Montréal tournament. “On the other hand, we are very excited that we will once again host Simona in Montreal. With her making a return to the game, we still have 18 players from the top 20 and a very strong board. With such a good field, it is a safe bet that the IGA Stadium will once again showcase very exciting tennis!”
Due to Barty and Kerber’s withdrawal, American Danielle Collins (25th) and Australian Ajla Tomljanovic (51st) will avoid a passage through qualifying and will move directly to the main draw. As for the qualifying draw, two Americans, No. 100-ranked Christina McHale and No. 107-ranked Claire Liu, will take the places left vacant by Collins and Tomljanovic. As for Venus’ wild card, it will be replaced by the one given to Simona.