On Monday night, the Rogers Cup tennis tournaments officially got underway. If you're not familiar, these are the two biggest tournaments in the country — one is for male players (the ATP tour) and the other is for females (the WTA tour) and they trade between Montreal and Toronto year to year.
This summer, Montreal is hosting the ATP and Toronto the WTA. Traditionally, these events have been a great chance for Canadian players to play against some of the world's very best. Only two summers ago, Denis Shapovalov kick-started his career with an unexpected win over one of the greatest players of all time, Rafael Nadal.
Except this time, they all seem to be stuck playing each other!
Check it out. This afternoon, Felix will play Canadian veteran Vasek Pospisil (once a doubles champion at Wimbledon) in Montreal. (And whichever one of those two players wins, their next opponent will be yet another Canadian: Raonic!) Then in Toronto in the evening, Bianca and Genie go head-to-head.
This certainly generates a lot of excitement for the nation's tennis fans. In addition to top talent like Nadal and Serena Williams, they get to see homegrown talent lock horns. The only problem? It's a bit of a bummer to know that so many Canadians will be knocked out early because they're playing each other.
Which brings up a reasonable question: In a pair of tournaments with 128 players each, how did these Canadians all end up so clustered together?
Getting better all the time
On one hand, this is just weird luck. The lower ranks of the draws (that's the chart that determines who plays who) are random. Sometimes funny stuff happens! But on the other hand, it speaks to how much better Canadian tennis is becoming. How so?
In the past, Canadians got entry into the Rogers Cup simply because it was held in Canada. Most of them weren't good enough to get into these kinds of tournaments in other countries. So they would typically face off against Top 30 talent and lose fairly early.
But right now, Canadians like Milos, Felix, Bianca...they are the Top 30 talent that other Canadians tended to face right away. More players — and more better players — means more of a chance of these maple syrup meltdowns!
So enjoy the tennis, Canada. Win or lose, the country is really starting to make a mark.