MONTREAL: Novak Djokovic returns to tennis for the first time since Wimbledon as the Serb begins his bid for a third straight title when the Montreal Masters begins today.
Djokovic has not played since losing the Wimbledon final to Andy Murray, the second seed who will also be testing himself for the first time in a month since making history with his title at the All England Club.
Missing from the field will be two-time champion Roger Federer, the world number five, with the Swiss apparently unable to overcome the back spasms which bothered him in recent weeks as he played for the first time in years at clay events in Hamburg and Gstaad.
ATP number five Federer gave no precise indication of why he will not make the trip to start his pre-US Open campaign, saying only: “I am disappointed not to be playing in Montreal next week. It is a great tournament with amazing fans. I look forward to competing there in the future.”
Also pulling out was wild card Gael Monfils, and American Mardy Fish.
Serb Viktor Troicki and Croatian Marin Cilic are also not included in the field (due to the doping debacle) for the first major tune-up prior to the US Open which begins August 26.
Murray acknowledges his progress
Murray is building for the first grand slam title defence of his career in New York where he finally made his breakthrough at a major at the US Open 11 months ago.
“I think I persevered, that’s really been it, the story of my career,” the Scot said of his ever more impressive resume. “I’ve had lots of tough losses, but the one thing I would say is I think every year I always improved a little bit.”
The top eight seed receive byes into the second round, with Djokovic playing the winner of the first-round match between Australian Bernard Tomic and Germany’s Florian Mayer.
Murray will line up against either Grigor Dimitrov or Marcel Granollers, who won the claycourt title in Kitzbuehel, Austria, on Saturday.
Spain’s David Ferrer is seeded third, with Czech Tomas Berdych fifth behind Rafael Nadal. Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro is sixth, with Gasquet seventh and Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka eighth.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.
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