Tremendous Indian Wells action this week reminds us that fans will have a chance to get closer to the top tennis stars on the planet when they hit Canadian courts this August.
In less than 140 days the WTA Tour lands in Toronto from August 5-13 at Aviva Centre where Rogers Cup will feature some of the most talented athletes in the world.
Romania’s Simona Halep is the defending champion on Canadian soil, taking the Coupe Rogers title when the WTA played in Montreal last season. Ranked fourth in the world, Halep also made the final of the 2015 Rogers Cup during WTA’s previous Toronto stop, but battling through injury she eventually succumbed to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the final that summer. With two consecutive finals in Canada, Halep will be one to watch in August.
Speaking of must-see players, World No. 1 Serena Williams is battling a knee injury that’s keeping her out of action this month. However, with Rogers Cup in the lead up window to US Open where the 23-time Grand Slam champion rules New York City for two weeks, one hopes Williams will be fully recovered and powering through the opposition in Toronto as only the three-time Rogers Cup champion can.
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard will be expected to draw big crowds in Toronto, and a handful of next generation Canadian players such as Bianca Andreescu, Carson Branstine, Charlotte Robillard-Millette and more could captivate the locals turning up for exciting action.
Well before August Canadian tennis fans will also learn about Maria Sharapova’s status on tour as the five-time Grand Slam winner looks set for a comeback season.
Over in Montreal, open practices of Coupe Rogers on August 4 begins ATP World Tour’s stop at the intimate settings of Uniprix Stadium where men’s tennis will take flight.
Serbian ace Novak Djokovic will be expected to defend his title after beating Kei Nishikori of Japan in the Toronto final last year. When the ATP last landed in Montreal for this tournament, Djokovic – then world No. 1 – lost to the current top player on tour Andy Murray in a three-set thriller. Djokovic has won the Canadian title on four occasions, while Britain’s Murray has been crowned champion on three occasions.
The tour is buzzing right now with the resurgence of Swiss legend Roger Federer. The two-time champion in Canada registered a big win at Indian Wells Round of 16 against Rafael Nadal on Wednesday night. The two met in the Australian Open final in January where Federer beat his Spanish rival in a classic five-set match for his 18th Grand Slam title. Nadal has won the Canadian title three times, most recently at Coupe Rogers in 2013.
It was in that 2013 final where Canada’s Milos Raonic announced to the world that he had arrived on the scene making the final before Nadal got the best of him. Fans in Montreal could be treated to fine home-grown tennis not just from Raonic, but also Canadian youngsters Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, who are tearing through the National Bank Challenger tournaments this month in Quebec. Last year in Toronto, Shapovalov stunned Nik Kyrgios of Australia making headlines round the world.
With tickets moving fast, Canadian tennis fans are now inside a five-month window to seeing world-class entertainment descend upon Toronto and Montreal with Rogers Cup and Coupe Rogers in the respective cities.