Denis Shapovalov hits a backhand and smiles.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

The biggest fortnight of the tennis season is upon us.

While technically all four Grand Slams are the same value, Wimbledon is widely accepted to be the biggest tournament on the tennis schedule. And it’s one where the Canadians have a history of strong results.

Put on your biggest hat and break out the strawberries and cream: It’s time for The Championships.

Here’s what you need to know.

What to Watch: The Canadians are Coming!

Wimbledon is a major that has seen Canadian success before. The slick grass surface tends to go well with the big-hitting most Canadians bring to the court.

That comfort is very much reflected at the 2023 Championships with one of the larger Canadian contingents in recent memory.

Nine Canadians are competing at the All-England Club over the coming fortnight: three in men’s singles, four in women’s singles, one more in women’s doubles and one in the quad wheelchair competition.

The largest group is in the women’s singles where Bianca Andreescu, Leylah Annie Fernandez, Rebecca Marino, and Carol Zhao are all in the draw. Zhao came through qualifying and will be making her Grand Slam debut against Lucky Loser Tamara Korpatsch.

Fernandez is the lone Canadian playing in singles and doubles, teaming up with Taylor Townsend to form the sixth-seeded pair. Gabriela Dabrowski is competing in the women’s doubles with Aleksandra Krunic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, and 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic are all competing in the men’s singles. It is Raonic’s first time competing on the hallowed lawns of SW19 since 2019. Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov are both seeded.

Rounding out the Canadian group is Rob Shaw, who is looking to back up a strong run at Roland-Garros with some results on grass.

Read all about the Canadians’ draws at the All-England Club here.

For the first time since 2003, someone other than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray is the top seed at the All-England Club. That honour goes to Carlos Alcaraz this year, although Djokovic is the four-time defending champion.

For the first time at a major this year, the WTA’s new prospective “Big Three” are the top three seeds: Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and defending champion Elena Rybakina. Sabalenka and Rybakina are in the bottom half of the draw and would meet in the semifinals.

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Wimbledon has the potential to wreak havoc with the rankings as full points are available at this year’s event, meaning every player gets the full haul of points for their results with nothing to defend.

In Case You Missed It: Calm Before the Storm

The last week before a major is always a bit quieter and last week was no exception.

Just three Canadians were competing in WTA main draws and they went a combined 2-3. Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Fernandez both won their first-round matches before losing in the second round of Bad Homburg.

For the second week in a row Rebecca Marino got into a tournament as a lucky loser but could not replicate her success and lost in the first round of Eastbourne.

A major story of the week was retirements in the WTA events. Iga Swiatek, Caroline Garcia, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Jelena Ostapenko all pulled out of their warm-up events early.

While the men’s events did not suffer from the injury bug, there were some surprises.

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In Mallorca, only one of the eight seeds, No. 4 Adrian Mannarino, so much as reached the quarter-finals. Even top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas lost his opening match to Yannick Hanfmann.

The other Top 10 player in action last week, Taylor Fritz, did not fare any better, losing his opening match in Eastbourne to Mackenzie McDonald.

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

Under the Radar:

While Carol Zhao was successful in her bid to reach the Wimbledon main draw through qualifying, four of her compatriots were not so lucky.

Gabriel Diallo and Katherine Sebov both were beaten in the second round of qualifying. Vasek Pospisil and Eugenie Bouchard both failed to get out of the first round.

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On the ITF circuit, Liam Draxl’s strong form in Santo Domingo carried over as he reached the singles final for a second week in a row. The Canadian did not drop a set on his way to the title match, where he lost to the third seed Martin Damm.

The best women’s result from the ITF circuit also came from Santo Domingo where Cadence Brace made the quarter-finals.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.