Big time Tennis returns to Canada as one of the world’s oldest tournaments takes place across Montreal and Toronto next week. Al Dannity breaks down the field at the Rogers Cup.
Will Djokovic return to Earth? World #1 and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has been busy doing the talk show circuit. Fresh from his success in England, Djokovic has appeared on Leno and Conan, enjoying his increased profile in North America. Now it’s time to get back to business as he faces some big challenges at the Rogers Cup. Reigning champion Andy Murray is back to defend his title in Montreal while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will both feature prominently in the Masters Series event. Focus really shouldn’t be an issue for Djokovic, who has lost just once since December. The Serb has found a way to balance business with pleasure, not letting off-court distractions bother him when it’s time to go to work.
With two Masters Series events in as many weeks on the horizon, this promises to be a busy time for all the game’s top players but I like Murray to be particularly strong in Montreal. Aside from being the defending champion, he has the most to prove after a disappointing semi-final performance against Nadal at Wimbledon. Look for the Scot to make another run to the final with Djokovic or Nadal likely meeting him there.
Serena’s back but don’t bank on her just yet My proclamations of unseeded Serena Williams winning Wimbledon proved wildly inaccurate but the younger Williams showed a return to form with victory at Stanford in July. Maintaining that kind of form throughout the hard court season will prove challenging so don’t rule out an early slip-up by Serena in Toronto.
The player with the most to prove is World #1 Caroline Wozniacki. Having won this title a year ago, the Dane’s status at the top continues to be criticized due to the lack of a grand slam title on her resume. Nothing she can do next week will change that but a dominant performance would force her critics to show some respect ahead of the U.S. Open. Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova is far from a dark horse but may not even play in Toronto. Kvitova, who hasn’t played since winning in SW19, is missing this week’s tournament in San Diego because of injury. Tennis betting fans should keep a close eye on her status ahead of play in Toronto.