ALEX DE MINAUR (AUS)
The official draw for the 2020 Australian Open has been made in the last few hours. Four Canadian players have directly accessed the main draw, as Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC), Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON) and Vasek Pospisil (Vernon, BC) are all set to compete. Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) would have been the fifth Canadian, but had to withdraw due to a knee injury.
Shapovalov is the highest ranked Canadian with his ranking of no. 13 and will be the 13th seed at the tournament. In the opening round, he will face Marton Fucsovic of Hungary, ranked no. 66 in the world. It will be the first meeting between the two. Shapovalov, who reached the third round at the Australian Open in 2019, is in the same section of the draw as Roger Federer and could face him in the fourth round. The 20-year-old Ontario native has completed his preparation for the first major of the season, having taken part in the ATP Cup and the tournament in Auckland.
The 20th seed at the Australian Open will be Auger-Aliassime. The Montreal native will have to wait to find out the identity of his first round opponent as he has drawn a qualifier. He will be competing in the main draw in Melbourne for the first time in his career, having reached the second round of qualifications last year. Auger-Aliassime is currently in action at a tournament in Adelaide, an ATP 250 event. After winning his first two matches, he will face Russian Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals.
Canada will count a third seeded player at the tournament, as Raonic (no. 32) is set to take part. The Canadian, who is coming back from an injury, will face Radu Albot, world no. 48, in the opening round. If he reaches the third round, he could face Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. In 2019, Raonic made a deep run to the quarter-finals thanks to impressive wins over Nick Kyrgios, Stan Wawrinka and Alexander Zverev. After missing the majority of the second half of the 2019 season, the 29-year-old was back in action in Doha a few days ago where he fell in the second round against Frenchman Corentin Moutet.
Also in the men’s main draw is Pospisil, who is using his protected ranking of no. 73. He has made a successful comeback after a long absence in 2019, managing to move up the rankings to no. 146. In the first round at this year’s Australian Open, Pospisil will face a player he knows very well, the fast-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic (no. 123). In fact, this will be the sixth meeting between the two, as the Canadian leads their head-to-head with four wins and only one loss. If he can move on to the second round, Pospisil could face Frenchman Gael Monfils.
$100 per ace for the victims of the bushfires
Tennis Canada announced on Wednesday that it will stand together with the global tennis community and provide support to the Australian bushfire relief efforts. The organization will donate $100 AUD for every Ace hit by a Canadian player during the Australian Open main draw in singles and doubles.
Four Canadians still in qualifying action
Canadian players Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal, QC), Steven Diez (Toronto, ON), Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) and Brayden Schnur (Pickering, ON) are still competing in the hopes of booking their ticket to the main draw. All four are in action tonight; Bouchard is one win away from qualifying for the main draw while Diez, Fernandez and Schnur will be playing in their second round matches.
*Feature photo: ATP Cup