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4 Things We Learned From the Rogers Cup

Rogers Cup

With the Rogers Cup coming to an end this weekend, we got to see some very exciting matches, creating memorable stories. After seeing many of the top-players forfeit (Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Cilic, etc.), the Canadian Open ended up being a standout tournament for other players to be in the spotlight. Here are four takeaways that we learned from this year’s ATP Rogers Cup held in Montreal!

 

 1. The Future is Now With Alexander Zverev

Yes, we saw him win in Rome earlier this year, but winning a second Masters title in Montreal right after his Washington win was nothing short of incredible. As stated on Reddit, Zverev became the second ‘non big-4’ player to win two Masters titles, and he won both these titles in the same year. This is quite an impressive feat for a 20-year-old youngster. Even if we consider Zverev as a ‘NextGen’ player, we can safely say that the future is now for this young gun. Zverev has to be considered among the favorites in every single tournament he will enter.

By winning his 2nd Masters title of the year in Montreal, Zverev has shown he is now a threat in every tournament he will play in.

The last step Zverev must complete to reach a top-3 ranking would be to improve his Grand Slam results. In fact, Zverev’s best result at a slam was the 4th round at Wimbledon this year, which was the first time he reached the 2nd week of a slam. Some say that off-court working is what he needs to improve his stamina in order to get results in best-of-five matches. Others say that his mental game has to improve to beat the top players at slams. In the end, one sure thing is that his confidence does not stop improving, and he is shaping into a complete tennis player. Pure talent!

 

2. Canada has a Bright Tennis Future

Right after her elimination in the 1st round of the Rogers Cup, Eugénie Bouchard said in her post-match interview that ‘someone else can carry the burden for Canada’, referring to Bianca Andreescu that had just beaten Kristina Mladenovic in Washington. Even though Andreescu eventually also lost in the 1st round of the Rogers Cup, ‘Genie’ was right about sharing the burden for Canada, because Denis Shapovalov was about to become the newest ATP sensation. Shapovalov put a courageous effort over the course of the week, creating winners from everywhere on the court, and against the very top players on the Tour. After saving match points against Dutra Silva, Shapovalov proceeded to win against Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, and Adrian Mannarino.

Denis Shapovalov played huge tennis on home ground in Montreal, defeating players like Del Potro and Nadal.

By reaching the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, Shapovalov jumped from #143 to #67 in the ATP rankings. He admitted that this achievement will certainly affect his schedule for the rest of the season, as he is now ranked high enough to play in bigger tournaments instead of challenger events. Chapeau Shapo!

 

3. Hard Courts are Still Hostile to Thiem’s Game

For the first time in his career, Dominic Thiem decided to play on hard courts in Washington instead of playing at home in Kitzbuhel, Austria. He stated wanting to better prepare for this surface as he admitted struggling during the hard court season in 2016. What happened next? Dominic lost in the 3rd round to Kevin Anderson in Washington and in the 2nd round in Montreal against Diego Schwartzman, for a combined record of 1-2. Those were quite disappointing results for Thiem, who was seeded respectively #1 and #3 in Washington and Montreal.

Dominic Thiem suffered another early loss on hard courts in Montreal.

It is safe to say that Thiem’s game is not at its best on hard courts. His swings are massive, but he needs a lot of time to complete his motions, so he has to play way too far back to hit his shots. While he is the second youngest member of the top-10 of the ATP, he still has to improve on faster courts to be able to be among the top competitors throughout the whole year.

 

4. Both Roger and Rafa Really Want Year-end #1

Even though Roger just announced he would skip the Cincinnati Open due to injury, it is clear that year-end #1 was on his sight when he confirmed he would play in Montreal. The Rogers Cup was not in his initial schedule for the 2017 season and he played it the last time in 2009. But now that world #1 was up for grabs, Federer wanted to go big on this opportunity. Unfortunately for him, he played in Montreal (and made the finals) without much practice beforehand (he admitted being on vacation), which resulted in him getting injured before the finals. While we know that Roger wants the #1 spot, he should probably stick to what works best for him, which is to rest a lot and pick his favorite events without rushing things. Let’s hope he will be back in shape for another deep-run at the US Open!

If they both remain healthy, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will engage in a fierce competition for the year-end #1 spot.

As for Rafa, his disappointment after his 3rd round loss to Shapovalov made it obvious that he really wanted to go far in the Rogers cup and become #1. Rafa was also frustrated because he had a favorable draw to go deep and did not make the best of it. Nonetheless, he will become #1 by the end of the week now that Federer pulled out of the Cincinnati Open. The race for the year-end #1, however, should still be quite entertaining.

 

 

This year’s Rogers Cup ended up being quite an interesting one due to the many dropouts from top players. It also gave some youngsters an opportunity to thrive on the big stage. We saw flashes of greatness from many different #NextGen players, thrilling matches, saddening injuries, and most of all, a glimpse at how intense this year-end #1 race is becoming.

 


 

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Etienne Giguère-Allard
Obsessed about Roger, occasional writer of CourtSide Watch. Passionate about tennis and hockey, depending of the season. Would definitely love to talk about tennis with you!

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