It is time. The summer hard-court season officially gets underway on Monday in Montreal.
The champion of the Rogers Cup for the past two years, Andy Murray, has arrived and begun practicing, ready to defend his title against all comers.
The men’s top four have not played on the ATP tour since Wimbledon, recouping, rejuvenating and retooling their games for the American hard-court season––which, in essence, lasts from the first week in August through the first week in September.
It culminates in New York City at the 2011 US Open.
Winning the US Open could salvage the year and the career of Andy Murray, now ranked No. 4.
Winning in New York could reestablish Rafael Nadal as a force at the top of the men’s game rather than as a man who failed to defend two of his last three major titles.
It could give Federer his sixth US Open title and his 17th Grand Slam title.
Finally, it could cement Novak Djokovic in the top spot, giving credence to the 48-1 record he brings into the American hard-court season.
This year, the Rogers Cup will be a combined event, even though it will continue to be hosted in two different locations with the men’s event in Montreal this year and the WTA event to be played in Toronto.
The schedules are supposed to complement each other with the idea being that fans will be able to enjoy both tournaments simultaneously.
An interesting experiment, to say the least.
Nothing much of interest has happened in the men’s game since Wimbledon.
What are the odds coming into Montreal that (1) Murray will repeat as champion or (2) that Djokovic will continue his 48-1 winning streak or (3) that it will be Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal who adds a third Roger’s Cup to his very crowded Masters mantle?