Novak Djokovic arrives in Toronto with a second Wimbledon title under his belt and his eyes firmly set on a second US Open title – can he snare the Rogers Cup crown for the fourth time on the way?
Djokovic starts with a bye into the second round and could meet a couple of tricksters for his opener in either Radek Stepanek or Gael Monfils. The Frenchman leads the Czech veteran 5-3 in their head to head, and has had his fair share of injuries already this year. He rolled his ankle walking onto the court in Bucharest and it hampered his clay court preparations, although he managed to push Andy Murray to five sets in the French Open quarter-final, but had to pull out of Atlanta and Washington with a right knee injury.
Stepanek has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance of late – taking out defending Queen’s champion Andy Murray and providing all manner of entertainment against Djokovic including taking a set off him in the Wimbledon second round, but he too has been struggling with injury and pulled out of Atlanta.
It could be double French trouble then for Djokovic in the third round as he could face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as his first likely seeded opponent, and with a very comfortable 13-5 lead in their head to head, then all eyes will be on his quarter-final.
There will be some focus on whether Andy Murray can bring about a reversal of fortunes that has seen him slip down the rankings a little, but he faces Richard Gasquet, who is coming back to some form after a back injury hampered a lot of his spring hard court and clay court season. Murray has been putting in the time at his Miami base, and working with new coach Amelie Mauresmo, but can it be enough to topple the World No. 1?
His likely semi-final opponent will be Grigor Dimitrov, who has fast established himself as the leader of the chasing pack snapping at the heels of the Big Four, and after being edged out in his first Grand Slam semi-final by Djokovic at Wimbledon, the young Bulgarian will be keen to pick up momentum ahead of the US Open – but trails Djokovic 1-4 in their head to head, including two defeats on hard courts.
In a strange twist, the second half of the draw sees a repeat of the other Wimbledon semi-final where Milos Raonic could well face Roger Federer, and the young Canadian has started his hard court campaign well in Washington, and will want to defend his Canada Masters final points and put right his poor performance from Wimbledon. It would not be a surprise to see a final between Djokovic and Raonic.
The ATP Rogers Cup starts on 4 August.