The draw for the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the North American hard court tour is set, and defending champion Rafael Nadal could quickly get a dose of revenge in his opener at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.
Nadal returned to the ring last week in Washington, DC, where he played his first hard court event since February. But his path was cut short in the round of 16 by an inspired performance by South African Lloyd Harris, the same player he could face in his first game in Toronto.
Second-seeded Nadal awaits Harris's winner and a second-round qualifier. The Spaniard has won the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers trophy five times - twice in Toronto and three in Montreal, as the ATP Masters 1000 event alternates host cities each year.
In 2018 and 2019, Nadal completed the Montreal-Toronto double, winning consecutive titles in each city. With a 38-8 record, including a perfect 5-0 mark in finals, in 13 appearances, the Canadian tournament is Nadal's most successful ATP Masters 1000 hard-court event.
Nadal will not be short of challenges as he hunts for a sixth trophy in Canada: If he makes it through his second-round test, he could face a possible meeting with 14th seed Grigor Dimitrov or an unseeded Nick Kyrgios in the next round.
Dimitrov awaits the winner of Kyrgios and Reilly Opelka. Also in the middle of Nadal's draw, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas returns to action as he plays his first tournament since the Tokyo Olympics. Tsitsipas has shone on clay this year, but his results on hard courts include a semi-final at the Australian Open (l.
To Medvedev) and a final in Acapulco (l. To Zverev). The Greek player has landed on a tough stretch and could face 15th seed Aslan Karatsev in the third round. Tsitsipas will start against the winner of Ugo Humbert and Lorenzo Sonego, while Karatsev awaits Cameron Norrie or Karen Khachanov.
World No. 2 Daniil Medevedev is the top seed in Toronto, and he could face a familiar foe in the second round.
Nadal recently lost to Llyod Harris
World No.4 Rafael Nadal recently lost to Llyod Harris in the pre-quarters of the Citi Open 2021.
He didn’t get the desired result in Washington but will look forward to learning from his defeat. The final scoreline of the match was 4-6, 6-1, 4-6. “See you at the white house soon Rafael Nadal,” tweeted the official page of the Rogers Cup.
Fans haven’t forgotten the selfie in which he unknowingly made a mistake and called the US Capital as the ‘White House’. It was a funny moment for some fans as they joked that Rafa is so new to Washington that he can’t even differentiate between the White House and the US Capitol. However, Rafa soon clarified that it was a typing mistake and rectified his mistake on social media.