US Open Tennis Countdown: Andy Murray Defends the Rogers Cup

Ravit AnandContributor IIIAugust 3, 2011

Andy Murray won last year's Rogers Cup
Andy Murray won last year's Rogers CupMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Rogers Cup is the first of two major hard-court surface tournaments that lead up to the fourth and final Grand Slam, the US Open.

The ATP Masters 1000 competition, also known as the Canadian Masters, will provide players with an opportunity to capture more ranking points as well as form ahead of the US Open, which kicks off at the end of August.

The Rogers Cup itself, due to start on Aug. 8, will feature many of the world's top players including current champion Andy Murray and newly crowned No. 1 Novak Djokovic and is scheduled to be played in Montreal.

While Murray is yet to win a Grand Slam title, the Scot is victorious on six occasions in ATP Masters 1000 finals, including the two previous Rogers Cup. The 24-year old defeated Roger Federer last year 7-5, 7-5.

He will be hoping for a hat trick of victories, but the competition this year is proving to be as fierce as ever.

Federer, who lost in the final last year, will be hoping to ignite another spark of his illustrious career. Suggestions have been made that the Swiss is in decline, and he will be hoping to prove his critics wrong with a victory that would lead toward increased confidence for the US Open.

Arguably the greatest ever to have graced a tennis court, Federer will be hoping to add another ATP 1000 title to his collection of 17 already, not to mention his 16 Grand Slams. The last time Federer won this competition was in 2006, defeating Richard Gasquet in the final.

Newly crowned world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will undoubtedly be expected to win the tournament, having lost only one match this calendar year, to Federer in the French Open semifinal. The Serb will be buoyant following his inaugural Wimbledon success and will be hoping to carry it into the Canadian Masters followed by the Cincinnati Masters en route to the US Open.

He will be hoping to add another five victories to an already astonishing 2011 by winning the tournament where he lost to runner-up Federer last year 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.

Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal has won this tournament twice in his already illustrious career but has not been victorious since 2008 when he defeated German Nicolas Kiefer in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. The Spaniard may have something to prove having lost his No. 1 title and Wimbledon crown to Djokovic.

A potential victory in the Canadian Open final would benefit the 10-time Grand Slam winner to regain his status at the top of the ranking as well as provide him with success heading into the US Open where he will be defending his title.

Former world No. 4 Juan Martin Del Potro is also hoping for success. The Argentine didn't compete last year due to an injury that has brought his world ranking down to 20th.

Wimbledon semifinalist Jo-Wilfred Tsonga will be one of several of the chasing pack that includes Robin Soderling and David Ferrer, to name a few, who will be hoping for relative success that will give them confidence going into Flushing Meadows.