A great week of tennis in Montreal, no more

However, the ingredients were there to make the National Bank Open a big celebration, starting with a return to normal after two tournaments were canceled or continued slaughter of health measures linked to the pandemic.

There were some great tennis, of course, moments of passion, but not necessarily euphoria, no magic, and above all a logistical headache for the organizers. Heavy rains on Monday, while not forcing the cancellation of sessions, put a huge strain on the fixture schedule for the days that followed.

After the rain, the seeds fell one by one. Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev all recovered after just hours of one match.

There is always a lot going on in championship week, and this week has been no different.Tournament Director, Eugene Lapierre, said during his assessment.

Pablo Carreno Posta

Photo: Getty Images / Minas Panagiotakis

And what about Canadians? Passing score, at most.

Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil are relieved, although rain forced Shapovalov to play his two-day match against Alex de Minaur. Not only will returning to the field to lose five rallies later be part of Southpaw’s eccentric career that the DVD highlights.

Alexis Galarneau was one of the few sparks at the start of the week. Seeing a 23-year-old realize his dream of playing on center court, in front of family and friends, after spending five years in the US college leagues, is very touching.

This is also a sport, sometimes good-tasting defeats. No player brightened up the press room with a smile as Lavalois did.

His loss in the first round to Grigor Dimitrov did not earn him a single ATP point due to his guest status. However, he left Montreal with $23,000 richer, enough to pay for the hotel and coach for a few weeks at small tournaments, out of the limelight.

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We’ll see him again in Vancouver this week and in Granby or New York the next. The 237th in the world is still hoping for a place in the US Open qualifying table. It will take more than ten withdrawals to replace it.

Then there’s Félix Auger-Aliassime.

Of course, he became the first modern-day Quebec player to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament. Alexandra Wozniak did it in 2012. At that time, this premiere was a huge success.

For Auger-Aliasime, rank nine in the world, there was a certain sense of incompleteness. He was tense against Yoshihito Nishioka in the second round, and was released to off-game Cameron Norrie, then unrecognizable against Casper Rudd.

The week was at least able to cement the deep bond that unites him with the Quebec crowd.

We’ve seen him sign a lot of autographs, take pictures with the fans, sometimes hours before matches. Called up in Montreal in 2019, Kei Nishikori says finding the balance between his time generosity and the right state of mind to attack his championship takes time.

The Japanese admitted that it took several years before he really felt comfortable in the Tokyo Championships.

Felix was under pressure and we could feel it in the third game. I thought she would arrive in the first match. I was happy to see the level of Felix in his first two games, but he has to learn how not to let expectations reach him. It will be better next time. »

Quote from Eugene Lapierre, Director of the Open National Bank of Montreal

Auger-Aliassime struggled during his defeat, and the crowd suffered with him, not letting him go, despite the absurdity of seeing him lose 10 games in a row. In the movies, the heroes always end up getting up, but on Friday afternoons, he’s beaten up.

He will try to get up in Cincinnati or even in New York, where he will not be the focus of the press and the public as he is at home. He will be able to start his championship under Serena Williams’ latest potential event at Flushing Meadows.

Once the Canadians left, lesser-known players from the curious general public introduced the scene. Saturday night’s semi-final match between Pablo Carreno Busta and Danielle Evans was dessert.

And what about Evans, who returned to the field at midnight a quarter of an hour later after the three-hour marathon in singles against the Spaniard, to run into the semi-finals of the doubles he won, especially against Hubert Hurkacz.

Respect Daniel and the fans who stayed until the last hit of the day, before the bars closed.

And in honor of Hubert Hurkacz, Eugène Lapierre’s favorite of the week. One if not the first player he has gone to to offer his help with this week’s promotional activities.

I didn’t know him very well, but he made me think of the greats who are always happy in your gang of buddies. He was very cute and funny. Then we saw that it was far from being a penguin on Earth.

Carino Busta, who knocked out Italian champion Matteo Berrettini in the first round, is certainly not the sexiest or most famous champion, but he has already made it to the top 10 in the world and reached the semi-finals of the US International.

His victory in the final was well deserved.

And what would the tennis tournament in Montreal be without an attendance record? Again this year, the Open National Bank beat its mark with over 12,000 spectators.

A total of 237,158 fans came to watch matches or practice. Of course, there are of course free tickets distributed for the first qualifying weekend sessions.

The fact remains that, financially, Tennis Canada can finally replenish its coffers after canceling a tournament in 2020 and one presented in a restricted configuration in 2021.

A fantastic week for the resumption of Canadian tennis operations, which funds a large part of the development of its young players from the proceeds of the tournament.

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