Medvedev feeling confident after latest title as he shifts focus to NBO title defence

·3 min read

MONTREAL — Wet weather kept many players in a frustrating holding pattern Monday afternoon at the National Bank Open. Defending champion Daniil Medvedev had no such issue.

It's one of the perks of being the world's top-ranked men's singles player. Medvedev received a first-round bye as a top seed and likely won't play his opening match at IGA Stadium until Wednesday.

"I will have two good days of practice and after I'll start the tournament," he said. "Of course, I'm very hungry for victories."

Unlike many of his ATP Tour peers who were stuck waiting to see when the rain would let up, the confident Russian star could relax knowing he only had to tinker with his training schedule.

Medvedev held court with reporters during a 15-minute availability before continuing preparations for his title defence at the Masters 1000 tournament.

He enters the competition on a roll after winning in Mexico over the weekend. Medvedev didn't lose a set at the tournament en route to claiming his 14th career ATP-level crown.

"Feeling 100 per cent physically (and I'm) mentally ready," Medvedev said. "Really happy with Los Cabos for sure with the title. Looking forward to here, trying to get some good matches."

Medvedev, who competes under a neutral flag, could face Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the second round. Kyrgios, who jumped 26 spots to No. 37 in this week's rankings, was scheduled to open against Argentina's Sebastian Baez.

World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal is one of many young stars who are seeded for the US$6.53-million tournament. Others include Spain's Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Norway's Casper Ruud and Italy's Jannik Sinner.

Rafael Nadal withdrew on the eve of the tournament due to an abdominal injury. The rest of the so-called Big Three — Roger Federer (knee) and Novak Djokovic (unvaccinated) — were also absent.

"It doesn't change much if they're here or not because my goal is to win the tournament," Medvedev said. "So no matter who I play … if it's going to be a qualifier or wild card, lucky loser, second seed, I just want to win the match."

Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that began four hours after its originally scheduled start time.

In other early matches, American Jenson Brooksby beat Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 and Russia's Karen Khachanov topped Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3. Alex Molcan of Slovakia defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Rain returned later in the day, forcing the suspension of all evening matches.

Australia's Alex de Minaur had a 7-5, 6-6 lead on Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., when the clouds opened. They had split the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

Organizers later postponed the suspended matches until Tuesday. Play was scheduled to resume at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, an hour earlier than normal.

Wild-card entries Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, B.C., and Alexis Galarneau of Laval, Que., are also in the 56-player field.

Auger-Aliassime has a first-round bye as the No. 6 seed and likely won't play his opening match until Wednesday. Pospisil was slated to play his opening doubles match with Sinner on Monday but it was rescheduled.

The singles field includes 41 of the top 44 players in the men's rankings. The event returns to full capacity this year for the first time since 2019.

Robert Bedard was the last Canadian to win this tournament, taking the 1958 title in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2022.

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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press