Medvedev feels confident after last title and focuses on NBO title defense


Wet weather kept many players in a frustrating queue on Monday afternoon at the National Bank Open. Defending champion Daniil Medvedev had no such problem.

It’s one of the perks of being the best singles player in the world. Medvedev received a first-round bye as the top seed and is unlikely to play his opening game at the IGA Stadium until Wednesday.

“I will have two good days of training and after that I will start the tournament,” he said. “Of course I’m very hungry for victories.”

Unlike many of his ATP Tour peers who waited to see when the rain would let up, the confident Russian star was able to relax knowing all he had to do was tinker with his training schedule.

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

He enters the competition after winning in Mexico over the weekend. Medvedev has not lost a set en route to his 14th career crown at ATP level.

“I feel 100 percent physically (and I’m) mentally ready,” Medvedev said. “Really happy with Los Cabos, safe with the title. Looking forward to getting some good games here.”

Medvedev, who is competing under a neutral flag, could face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the second round. Kyrgios, who moved up 26 spots to 37th in this week’s rankings, was set to open against Argentinian Sebastian Baez.

World No. 9 Montreal resident Felix Auger-Aliassime is one of many young stars seeded for the $6.53 million tournament. Others include Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, Norwegian Casper Ruud and Italian Jannik Sinner.

Rafael Nadal retired 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 whether they are here or not because my goal is to win the tournament,” said Medvedev. “So no matter who I’m playing against – whether it’s a qualifier or a wild card, a lucky loser or a 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 game that started four hours after the originally scheduled start time.

In other early games, American Jenson Brooksby defeated Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-2, 6-3, and Russia’s Karen Khachanov defeated 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 all evening games to be suspended.

Australia’s Alex de Minaur had a 7-5, 6-6 lead over Richmond Hill, Ontario’s Denis Shapovalov as the clouds rolled in. They had shared the first six points of the second set tiebreaker.

The organizers later postponed the suspended games to Tuesday. Play was scheduled to resume at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, an hour earlier than normal.

Wildcard participants Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, BC and Alexis Galarneau of Laval, Que. are also in the field of 56 players.

Auger-Aliassime retired as number 6 in the first round and will probably only play his opening game on Wednesday. Pospisil was due to play his opening doubles match with Sinner on Monday, but it was postponed.

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

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

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 8, 2022