Wimbledon was a bit of a disaster for the Next Gen as they tumbled out early while Roger, Rafa and Novak sauntered to the last four. Canada has also traditionally been a stronghold for GOATs with the terrific trio and Andrew Murray responsible for 13 of the past 15 champions.
2019 could be different though, as Nadal is the only player from that group to make the trek to Montreal. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are conserving their energy while Murray is still focused on doubles. Will the mighty Mallorcan defend his title or will we see a fresh Masters 1000 winner?
With his rivals absent, this week is a great opportunity for the Spaniard to collect Masters title no.35 and gain momentum ahead of Flushing Meadows. Hard court titles have been surprisingly rare for Nadal in recent years. While the world no.2 continues to rack up trophies on the dirt, Toronto 2018 was his first Masters 1000 success on hard for five years.
Fourteen summers ago, Nadal claimed the first of four Canadian Opens and he has a decent chance to make it five this week. He’s likely to face the feisty Alex de Minaur in the second round while David Goffin, Fabio Fognini or Borna Coric could stand in his way before the last eight. A potential semi-final clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas would garner plenty of eyeballs.
The low key Spaniard has presumably shaken off the effects of his delayed stag in Ibiza and is back to the grind. The 31-year-old will want to build on a superb season that’s seen him win a title (Doha) and reach his first grand slam semi-final (Wimbledon). RBA starts against a qualifier and will fancy beating Marco Cecchinato or Diego Schwartzman in the second round. The talented but beatable Kei Nishikori would probably await in the third round before a quarter-final bout with Tsitsipas.
The Russian’s game is not always the prettiest to watch but it most definitely gets results. The 23-year-old moved into the world’s top 10 last month and could well stay there given his admirable consistency. Medvedev has been a regular fixture at the business end of events throughout 2019, whether it’s on hard (Brisbane, Sofia, Washington), clay (Monte-Carlo, Barcelona) or grass (Queen’s). He’s in Dominic Thiem’s quarter here and must fancy taking advantage of a section brimful of brilliant but erratic talents.
Can Thiem, Marin Cilic and Nick Kyrgios overcome this relentless rallier?
Stan The Man is now fully fit after a lengthy recovery from knee surgery. 2019 has certainly been patchy for the three-time major winner with early losses in Melbourne and Wimbledon. However, he also made the last eight at Roland Garros and the final of Rotterdam. A semi-finalist here in 2016, Wawrinka will start against the struggling Grigor Dimitrov who is (incredibly) ranked 57 in the world now.
The 34-year-old would probably need to get through Karen Khachanov, Felix Auger Aliassime and Alex Zverev to make the final but anything’s possible when Stanimal roars!
*All odds correct at time of posting