Bianca Andreescu raises her racket over her head to acknowledge the crowd.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Other than the Wimbledon fortnight, this week is the biggest week of the grass season where most of the world’s best, including many Canadians, ramp up their preparation on the European lawns in some of the biggest warm-up events.

The Canadians got their feet wet last week, but now the pressure is on as The Championships draw ever closer.

Here is what you need to know.

In Case You Missed It: Slow Starts on a Fast Surface

Canadian tennis fans were overjoyed to see a familiar face firing lasers on the lawns of s-Hertogenbosch last week as Milos Raonic made his return to the tour after nearly two years away. The former world No. 3 looked in vintage form in his opening-match win over Miomir Kecmanovic but went down in the second round of the Libema Open to eventual runner-up Jordan Thompson.

Bianca Andreescu and Carol Zhao also opened up their grass-court seasons with wins in the Netherlands but, like Raonic, were both defeated in the second round by Viktoria Hruncakova and Veronika Kudermetova respectively.

Denis Shapovalov and Rebecca Marino kicked off their grass swings last week but were defeated in their first-round matches in Stuttgart and Nottingham.

Read also: The Grass-Court Season Kicks Off

Richard Gasquet reached an impressive milestone, scoring his 600th career win on the ATP Tour, doing so in style by upsetting top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in Stuttgart. He is also the fourth active player to hit that mark along with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray.

Frances Tiafoe won that title, allowing him to make his Top 10 debut on Monday. It is the first time in over a decade that two American men, Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz, are ranked in the Top 10.

Local fans were given a treat in Nottingham as Katie Boulter defeated Jodie Burrage in an all-British final. Three of the four semifinal spots belong to Brits.

Read also: The Short Story of the Grass Season

Maria Sakkari was the lone Top 10 woman getting her grass season underway last week but was upset in the second round of Nottingham by Alize Cornet.

*(Year-to-date titles/Grand Slam titles/career titles)

What to Watch: Raonic Ready for Revenge

Milos Raonic will not have to wait long to take another swing at Jordan Thompson as the pair will meet in the first round of the Cinch Championships this week at the prestigious Queen’s Club.

A victory would see the Canadian face off with home-favourite Cameron Norrie in the second round. He is in the same quarter as Stuttgart champion Frances Tiafoe and is in the top half of the draw with Carlos Alcaraz.

After dropping his opening match last week, Denis Shapovalov scored his first grass win of 2023 in Halle at the other ATP 500 event this week, defeating Lloyd Harris in straight sets. He will face either Alexander Zverev or Dominic Thiem in round two, a wild first-round matchup considering they met in a Grand Slam final not even three years ago before both got struck with injuries.

Read also: A New Battle for WTA Supremacy?

Shapovalov could have met Felix Auger-Aliassime in round two, but the Canadian No. 1 withdrew with an injury and was replaced in the draw by Zverev. He could face second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals. Daniil Medvedev is the top seed.

Bianca Andreescu is competing at the lone WTA 500 event this week in Berlin. She will face Marketa Vondrousova in the first round and could play fourth seed Ons Jabeur in round two. She is in a loaded third quarter of the draw that also includes Maria Sakkari, Victoria Azarenka, and Alize Cornet.

Overall, the Berlin draw is stacked with seven of the WTA Top 10 in attendance, including world Nos. 2 and 3 Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina as the top two seeds.

Read also: Remembering Novak Djokovic’s 2011 Wimbledon-Canada-US Open Sweep

Rebecca Marino is competing at the WTA 250 event in Birmingham this week and plays Wang Xiyu in the first round. She could face seventh seed Zhang Shuai in round two and is in the same quarter as third seed Magda Linette. Barbora Krejcikova and Jelena Ostapenko are the top two seeds.

Under the Radar:

The Canadians put on a good showing at the ATP Challenger event in Puerto Rico, with both Alexis Galarneau and Liam Draxl reaching the quarter-finals. Draxl upset top seed Yu Tung-lin in the first round.

Gabriel Diallo also reached his second Challenger quarter-final in as many weeks on grass in Nottingham.

Read also: Cleeve Harper and Layne Sleeth Shine in NCAA

Two more Canadians reached quarter-finals on the ITF circuit. Stacey Fung reached the last eight at a W60 event in Sumter, South Carolina, while Jessica Alsola, who had upset top-seeded countrywoman Cadence Brace in the first round, got to the quarters of a W25 in Colorado Springs.

In some non-Canadian results of note on the ATP Challenger Tour, it was a throwback week with Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori winning titles. Their victories on Sunday came exactly 5,600 days after they both won ATP 250 events on the same day in 2008.

For Murray, it is two Challenger titles on grass in as many weeks and he is now on a 10-match winning streak, putting himself within range to be seeded at Wimbledon. Nishikori’s win was his first title at any level since 2019.

The joint ATP Challenger-ITF W100 in Ilkley, Great Britain this week features both Gabriel Diallo and Katherine Sebov.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.