Tricky draw for Rafael Nadal in Toronto

Singles draw has been made for the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Toronto, the fifth Masters tournament of the year (August 9-15).

Rafael Nadal, the two-time defending champion whose foot injury appeared to be bothering him this week at a tournament in Washington, is second seed in Canada and will open his campaign against the winner of the match between Lloyd Harris and a qualifier.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Rafa’s potential route to the final:

  • 1st round: bye
  • 2nd round: Llyod Harris
  • 3rd round: Grigor Dimitrov
  • Quarter-final: Diego Schwartzman
  • Semi-final: Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • Final: Danill Medvedev

If the men play to seed the quarter-final line up will be:

  • Danill Medvedev vs Hubert Hurkacz
  • Andrey Rublev vs Denis Shapovalov
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Matteo Berettini
  • Casper Ruud vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • Diego Schwartzman vs Rafael Nadal

View Draw

In the Open Era, Ivan Lendl is the most successful male player, with six titles to his name. Rafa, a five-time champion, could equal that record by winning the 2021 title.



  1. Thanks Lorna, David and Ginagigi for your respective insightful views about Rafa on hard surface. In all fairness, Rafa has indeed proved his mettle on hard courts and grass, albeit both Djokovic and Federer managed to achieve better consistent results on fast surfaces. Apart from these two, Rafa does have better stats (somehow I keep bringing in stats repeatedly) compared to any other hard-court specialists of current generation as well as of previous generation barring Sampras, Agassi and Lendl. Among the current players, only Murray comes closer to what Rafa has achieved on hard courts in spite of being his least favourite surface.

    Much has been said about Rafa’s serve failing him in recent times. It’s true that Rafa’s serve, especially the first serve, is not at the level like it used to be in the past. However, more noticeably his serve had been deserting him at crucial junctures whenever he needed to put in a good serve at pressure points like break-points or during the tie-breaks. Overall, if Rafa can put >60% of his first serves in and win around 80% of points on first serve, he should be more than ok. As a case study against Lloyd Harris, Rafa was serving 64% on first serve and winning 79% points on his first serves, which was good enough. However, while facing break-points, Rafa just couldn’t produce a lethal first serve to save the break-points. To me, this was the real difference. A good first serve is something which can consistently bail you out from difficult situations – something which Sampras used to do on regular basis, as well as Federer until couple of years ago.

    To me, Rafa’s serve deserting him on crucial points is an indication of more of a psychological issue rather than anything else.

    With advancing years, every player makes some adjustments to his game to compensate for slower reflexes and depleting stamina as a consequence of ever-ticking body clock. Probably Rafa also needs to consider making some adjustments to his game by doing the following more often:

    1) Conserve energy as much as possible by trying to cut down the length of rallies; there was a time when Rafa would have been the favourite if the match would go the distance. Not anymore. If a match goes the full distance, Rafa is likely to be more susceptible to fatigue than his opponents;

    2) Don’t try to hit every ball ferociously as it takes away lot of precious energy; pull the trigger only when necessary;

    3) Move forward by a couple of steps to return the serves; Rafa concedes more aces to his opponents compared to others simply because he stands too far behind the baseline thereby giving away a wider angle to the big servers; Rafa should try more often to use the power of big servers against them by timing the returns rather than always forcing the returns;

    4) When the chips are down, try to mix up your game tactics more often instead of being quite predictable; this could be through different court movements, starting to play more from inside the court, frequently changing service return positions to cast some doubts in the mind of server, coming more often to the nets (although Rafa is very good with volleys and overhead smashes, he is still quite underrated for these shots) etc. etc.

    5) And for a change, try to put on a kind of smile (like Djokovic does) during a pressure-cooker like situation – it does help release the intense pressure. Rafa rarely smiles during a match – not even when Soderling tried to make fun of him during Wimbledon 2007.

    6) And last but not least, and more importantly, settle the score with Harris tomorrow.

    • His is the 2nd daytime match after FAA plays. Should be @ approx. 1 pm. There is a high risk of thunderstorms so that is subject to change.,

      • Thanks Mark. I think a 1 pm match will suit Rafa just fine!

        Djokovic is out for Cincinnati due to rest concerns. My view is that Rafa should play Cincinnati, as long as his foot is OK.

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