Novak Djokovic (ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic will be the favourite to lift the Canada Masters for the fourth time at the Rogers Cup in Toronto next week.
The World No. 1 will know that he picked up this title in 2011 on his way to his first US Open title, and in 2011 he did the Wimbledon and US Open double, so a win here will do much to bolster his confidence.
The late withdrawal of Rafael Nadal from both the Canada and the Cincinnati Masters puts Djokovic firmly in the driving seat for his brief US Open Series run.
Djokovic won the Canada Masters on his first attempt in 2007, beating Roger Federer in the final but he had to wait four years for another crack at the title, this time beating Mardy Fish in 2011, and going on to do the double the following year with a straight sets win over Richard Gasquet.
But last year, he came across Nadal’s inspired run after a seven month injury lay-off, losing to him in the semi-final. Without the Spaniard in the field, he will face stiff opposition from a resurgent Roger Federer, who fought back and pushed Djokovic to the limit in the Wimbledon final, and Stan Wawrinka, who has a chance to show the kind of hard court form that almost sent Djokovic packing in last year’s US Open semi-final.
With Andy Murray coming to the end of his customary Miami training block and looking a little more settled now he has a new coach in Amelie Mauresmo, he could be the joker in Djokovic’s pack but his tumble down the rankings means he misses out on the beneficial seedings.
Life is currently good for the Serbian, who married his long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic after winning Wimbledon, and they are expecting their first child. If he wants to re-assert his dominance on hard courts before the indoor hard court season, now is his best chance to pick up a fourth Rogers Cup title as he gears up for doing the Wimbledon/US Open double.
The Rogers Cup takes place in Toronto between 4-10 August.