10 Things To Watch In Montreal
An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP World Tour
1. Rafa Eyes No. 1: Rafael Nadal will retake No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings if he reaches the Coupe Rogers semi-finals. Nadal has not been World No. 1 since 6 July 2014. The Spaniard is making his 11th appearance at Coupe Rogers, where he is 28-7 overall and 18-4 in Montreal.
2. Back at the Top: Nadal and Roger Federer are the top two seeds in Montreal. The Spaniard and Swiss have not been the Top 2 seeds at Coupe Rogers since 2009. That year, Federer was the No. 1 seed, Nadal was No. 2, and both lost in the quarter-finals.
Nadal is a three-time champion (2005, 2008, 2013) and Federer is a two-time winner (2004, 2006). The Big Four have captured 24 of 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won 2014 Toronto (89 per cent). The other non-Big Four champions are Marin Cilic (2016 Cincinnati) and Alexander Zverev (2017 Rome).
3. Remarkable Roger: Federer, who turns 36 on Tuesday, is making his first appearance in Canada since losing to Tsonga in the 2014 Toronto final. He has not played in Montreal since falling to Tsonga in the 2011 third round. Federer is 11-4 in Montreal and 20-5 in Toronto, where he has won both of his Coupe Rogers titles.
This season, Federer is 31-2 with an ATP-best five titles, including his 18th and 19th Grand Slam championships at the Australian Open and Wimbledon respectively. He won his 25th and 26th Masters 1000 titles respectively at Indian Wells and Miami.
4. Milos at Home: Canada’s own Milos Raonic is making his eighth Coupe Rogers main draw appearance (10-7 record). He has reached the quarter-finals or better in four of the past five years, with a runner-up finish in 2013 (l. to Nadal) and quarter-final runs in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
5. Tsonga’s Success: Tsonga is 16-4 at Coupe Rogers, including semi-finals at Montreal in 2009 and 2011. He defeated Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic en route to the 2014 Toronto title.
6. #NextGenATP Invasion: Zverev, the Emirates ATP Race To Milan leader, is joined in the Coupe Rogers main draw by fellow Next Gen ATP Finals contenders Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric, Daniil Medvedev, Hyeon Chung, Jared Donaldson, Frances Tiafoe, Denis Shapovalov and Reilly Opelka.
7. Tale of Two Races: Zverev could qualify for both the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals and year-end Nitto ATP Finals. He entered Washington last week at No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Race To London.
8. Wild Cards: All four singles wild cards are Canadian: 2013 semi-finalist Vasek Pospisil, Peter Polansky, Brayden Schnur and Shapovalov. Schnur, 22, is seeking his first ATP World Tour victory. Shapovalov, 18, earned his first tour-level victory over Nick Kyrgios at 2016 Toronto.
9. Nestor Streak: Less than a month shy of his 45th birthday, Daniel Nestor is expected to make his 29th straight Coupe Rogers appearance. Nestor has a 45-26 tournament record with 12 different partners, winning Toronto titles in 2000 with Sebastien Lareau and 2008 with Nenad Zimonjic.
10. Double Your Fun: Among the direct acceptances in the Montreal doubles draw are eight Grand Slam championship teams, including five-time Coupe Rogers champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.