Photo : Martin Sidorjak/Tennis Canada
Expect to hear a lot about the Grand Slam over the next two weeks, as Novak Djokovic descends on New York with the trophies from the AO, Roland-Garros and Wimbledon already tucked away in his tennis bag.
The last male player to win one is Rod Laver, way back in 1969.
Before heading into the US Open, here’s a crash course in the fourth Grand Slam tournament of the season.
Don’t look for Roger Federer (five US Open titles), Rafael Nadal (four) or reigning champion Dominic Thiem. They won’t be there.
Six-time champion Serena Williams, who’s just a month shy of her 40th birthday, won’t be there either. Will we ever see her compete again?
The Djoker is red hot. And so is Ashleigh Barty, who’s pocketed five WTA trophies and five figures worth of ranking points.
Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev, who triumphed in Cincinnati, and Daniil Medvedev, who did the same in Toronto, are at the top of their games right now.
And Stefanos Tsitsipas will hopefully make headlines for his tennis and not his stance on vaccines …
Two-time winner Naomi Osaka seems fragile, and the new No.2 Aryna Sabalenka could go far if she can get a better grip on her emotions than she did in the semis in Montréal. There’s really no substitute for talent.
Friday’s draw will confirm things, but Milos Raonic should be in competition, along with Denis Shapovalov, who was a quarterfinalist a year ago and a semifinalist at Wimbledon. Félix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil should be in the mix, too.
Raonic has only played one match since Miami last March.
Bianca Andreescu, Leylah Annie Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski (in doubles) each have a spot in the main draw.
We’ve got our fingers and toes crossed for Rebecca Marino, who just won her first match in the qualifying event.
FAIR PAY FAIR PLAY
Take from the rich to give to the less rich? The US Open has decided to redistribute its prizemoney ($2.5M) by cutting $500 000 from the champions and $250 000 from the runners-up to fatten up the cheques handed out in the first four rounds by 23% and in the qualies by up to 66%.
NEWS FROM FRANÇOISE ABANDA
Earlier this week, Françoise Abanda stopped by Chicago.
She won her opening match at the WTA 250 over No.65 Danka Dovinic but then fell to Kristina Mladenovic (7). Abanda’s previous win in the main draw of a WTA tournament was at the 2018 National Bank Cup.
DID YOU KNOW?
A lot of sports have borrowed the term Grand Slam, but the first person to use it outside poker was New York Times journalist and writer Allison Danzig, who included it in an article on Don Budge, the first player ever to claim all four crowns.
In addition to the ATP and WTA events, National Bank supports Challenger tournaments across the province.
“News is coming soon,” affirms Eugène Lapierre.
“The difference between the Big Three and the rest is that they’re great every day,” said Gilles Simon to L’Équipe when asked about Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.
IGA Stadium and Court Philippe-Chatrier at Stade Roland-Garros host more than just tennis.
On Saturday night, Rogers Court in Montréal will be the stage of a boxing event present by Groupe Yvon Michel featuring Kim Clavel.
To catch a few rounds at Roland-Garros, make plans to be in Paris on September 10 at a prep for the 2024 Summer Games. With its retractable roof, the court is slated to host the Olympic boxing event.