Monday marks the opening day for the biggest tennis tournaments in Canada.
Each called the National Bank Open, they feature the best players in the world, including many Canadians, all locked in a week-long battle to claim top prize. The final for each tournament will take place on Sunday.
And what do we mean by each tournament?
In tennis, tournaments are usually held in one of three formats: for male players only, for female players only, or for males and females. The National Bank Open is the only top pro tournament in the world that is all three (sort of!). Overall, it is for men and women. But it is split across two locations: Montreal and Toronto. The women play in one city, while the men play in the other. And they switch cities every year.
In 2022, the men's tournament is being held in Montreal, while the women headline the excitement in Toronto. And this is also the first time since 2019 that these tournaments will be welcoming back crowds at full capacity!
Montreal loves Felix and Denis
Starting in Montreal, there are a few players to take note of. There is the world's number one ranked player and defending champ, Daniil Medvedev. His presence is also rounded out by many of the games top players from around the world, such as Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas and this year's Wimbledon semi-finalist, Cameron Norrie.
But you can bet that all eyes will be on the Canadian players, and two of them in particular: Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapavalov. Felix is the sixth-ranked player at the tournament, which earns him a day off and an automatic entry into the second round. Nice perk!
Meanwhile, Denis Shapovalov will have to fight his way into the next, which he will do starting this evening—his match versus Australia's Alex de Minaur is the featured night match for Monday. It will be a tough match, but fighting through tough matches is what he's used to in Montreal. In fact, his first big win happened five years ago on this very court when he beat the legendary Rafael Nadal in 2017.
Toronto is rooting for Leylah and Bibi
In Toronto, the women are getting ready for their own event. That tournament also includes the world's number one player, Poland's Iga Swiatek, as well as Top 10 names like Paula Badosa of Spain, Britain's Emma Raducanu, and Greece's Maria Sakkari. There is also someone by the name of Serena Williams who just might be the greatest female player to ever pick up a racquet!
But once again, the home crowd is going to be really locked in on the Canadians, including Rebecca Marino, Carol Zhao, and Katherine Zebov. The most exciting of that group are Leylah Fernandez and Bianca Andreescu.
Leylah is Canada's top-ranked player right now, but she hasn't played since May when she suffered an injury at the French Open. After finishing runner-up at last year's US Open, she is going to want to use this tournament to launch her back to being her best.
And speaking of getting back to being her best, it has been a long road for Bianca Andreescu. In 2019, Bibi had maybe the greatest season of any Canadian tennis player ever. She won several top events, including this very tournament and the US Open. But the next year, injuries hit and since then she has been very inconsistent. If there's any place for her to win back her form, it is here at her hometown event!
It's going to be all tennis, all the time for a week in Canada. Enjoy!