Photo: Tennis Canada/Arturo Velazquez
A Main Draw Wild Card for Venus Williams in Montréal
With the world’s best tennis players set to converge on Montréal and Toronto for the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, the qualifying competition promises some high-quality matchups. On Thursday, Tennis Canada released the list of 28 WTA players and 17 ATP players who will be going head-to-head in the preliminary event on August 7 and 8.
The field in Montréal features 27-year-old Danielle Collins (No.44) of the United States, who will be hoping to gain access to the tournament’s main draw, just like she did in 2019. Fellow American Sloane Stephens will also be fighting for a spot. The World No.70 triumphed at the 2017 US Open and played her way into the finals at Roland-Garros as well as the National Bank Open in 2018. World No.51 Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, who reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals, and No.75 Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei, who made it to the Australian Open quarter-finals, will also be vying to move to the next level.
In Toronto, World No.56 Nick Kyrgios of Australia headlines the qualifying draw. The former member of the Top 20, who has won all six of his career titles on hard courts, is likely to be a tough opponent on the inaugural weekend. At just 19 years old, Lorenzo Musetti of Italy will be at his very first National Bank Open. The No.61 made headlines this year, especially after his performance in the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros, where he managed to secure a two-set lead against World No.1 Novak Djokovic before falling in five. No.48 Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany and No.51 Lloyd Harris of South Africa, who were finalists in Munich (Struff) and Dubai (Harris) earlier this season, will be working to capitalize on their momentum. As was confirmed by Tennis Canada in last week’s main draw player list announcement, Canadian Vasek Pospisil has received a main draw Wildcard for the National Bank Open. He has, therefore, been replaced in the qualifying draw by Jeremy Chardy of France.
Wildcards (to be announced) will round out the qualifying draws in Montréal and Toronto.
See the draws here:
GOLD WILD CARD FOR VENUS WILLIAMS
Tennis Canada also confirmed that Venus Williams of the US has been given a Gold Wild Card for the 2021 National Bank Open main draw—an invitation extended 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. Three other Canadians will also receive wild cards for the main draw, Leylah Fernandez being one of them.
The 41-year-old American and former No.1 has earned 49 titles, including seven Grand Slam crowns (five at Wimbledon, two at the US Open). She will be competing in Canada for the eighth time in a row and her fourth time in Montreal. Her best result came in 2014, when she fought all the way to the final after overpowering three Top 15 players including her sister, then World No.1 Serena Williams. In the end, Venus lost the title to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland (6-4, 6-2).
In 2014, the eldest of the Williams sisters had very good words for Montreal: “I feel as if I’m from Quebec myself,” she mentioned. “Maybe from far away, a piece of my soul is from here… Rome has always been my favourite city. But this week, I found Montreal to be a close rival. I can’t wait to come back.”
“It goes without saying that we are very happy to announce that Venus Williams has received a wild card,” affirmed tournament director Eugène Lapierre. “Venus is—and always will be—an emblematic figure in tennis, and fans are very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to marvel at her game. There’s no doubt Montrealers will be thrilled to welcome her back.”
TICKETS TO THE NATIONAL BANK OPEN
The National Bank Open presented by Rogers is a prestigious tournament owned and operated by Tennis Canada. Year after year, it attracts the biggest and brightest stars in professional tennis. In 2021, the women’s edition (WTA) will run from August 7 to 15 at IGA Stadium in Montréal, and the men’s event (ATP) will take place from August 7 to 15 at Aviva Centre in Toronto.
Go to the tickets page to purchase tickets for the tournament in Montréal. Tickets for the Toronto tournament will go on sale on Monday, July 26. Note: there will be no fans allowed on-site in Toronto for the qualifications weekend in Toronto that will take place on August 7th and 8th.