Photo : @rolandgarros
The National Bank Open presented by Rogers is somewhat of a reunion.
While the get-togethers have always been biennial events as tennis alternates between Montréal and Toronto, due to the cancellations, this particular one at IGA Stadium is the first to feature men’s tennis since 2019.
The longest wait in the NBO’s 41-year history is over. Tournament director Eugène Lapierre has earned the award for patience.
We know that all the healthy (and vaccinated) players are in Montréal, led by World No.1 Daniil Medvedev, 19-year-old sensation Carlos Alcaraz and our very own Félix, of course.
A total of US$6,323,016 in prizemoney is up for grabs, and ticket sales are booming.
Before the main draw gets started, here’s what’s good to know at the NBO.
The No.1 at the top of his game
Let’s start with Daniil Medvedev, whose comeback comes through Montréal after he was banned from Wimbledon, like all Russian players, owing to the war in Ukraine.
Worried he’s a little rusty? Don’t be. He just won his first title of the season on Saturday night in Los Cabos, Mexico, without dropping a single set.
The road for Félix
There are no easy draws at this level, but Félix Auger-Aliassime (6) has the best one of all the seeds.
Though the first rounds are his Achilles heel, since he’s had five early losses since the start of the season, the Montrealer is sure to face a qualifier when he enters the tournament.
He could run into Cam Norrie, who defeated him in the semifinals in Los Cabos, but their record is still 4–1 in Félix’s favour.
To get to the semis, FAA may have to deal with Casper Ruud (4), who hasn’t played on cement since Miami in April.
As for No.22 Denis Shapovalov, a semifinalist in 2017, he has a tough draw. He meets up with No.21 Alex de Minaur right off the bat.
The NBO’s new darling (besides Félix)
Among the most certain predictions is the popularity of Carlos Alcaraz, who’s here for the very first time.
The 19-year-old Spanish phenom is World No.4 and has already raised four winner’s trophies in 2022, including the Miami Masters on the same hard courts as Montréal.
In addition to his talent, he possesses something that can’t be bought: the charisma to ignite a crowd.
Too much, not enough
Stefanos Tsitsipas thinks the courts at the stadium are a little slow for his taste. Carlos Alcaraz says they’re too fast.
Some things never change: consensus among the players doesn’t exist.
Three legends in action
This big three is made up of three-time Canadian Open champion Andy Murray, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka and the eternally athletic Gaël Monfils.
They’re definitely worth the trip. And they’re not getting any younger: their stop in Montréal could be their last.
This week, expect a new attendance record that will eclipse the 2019 record of 223,016 spectators.
Let’s hope the weather holds up.