The Rogers Cup will be missing some serious star power this year.
With the Rio Olympics sandwiched between Canada and Cincinnati, 2016 was always headed for a turbulent summer hardcourt season, and that stretch has begun with both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal withdrawing from next week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto a day after defending champion Andy Murray announced he would not defend his title.
After a grass swing with three semifinals made (but no titles) following a return from injury, Federer said via Facebook “it is best for me that I take more time after Wimbledon.” Federer has won in Canada twice (Montreal and Toronto alternate between the men and women each season), but not since 2006. His second straight year not attending to rest, Federer last played the Rogers Cup in 2014, where he reached the final before losing to a red hot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Meanwhile, Nadal, a three-time champ in Canada, has not played since his withdrawing during the French Open and is still recovering from his wrist injury suffered during the clay season. He has been practicing at home with Olympic doubles partner Marc Lopez and is progressing well but needs more time to make sure he’s fit to be Spain’s flagbearer in Rio.
As for Murray, he’ll drop 1000 points in not defending his 2015 Montreal title, citing a desire to squeeze in one of his famous training blocks. He hasn’t had time for one after a lot of match play during the clay and grass seasons, which saw him win Wimbledon along with Rome and Queen’s. He’ll be in Mallorca, perhaps practicing with Nadal at some point.
That leaves Novak Djokovic as the lone Big Four member in Toronto, and he’s expected to play after entering the doubles with fellow Serbian Nenad Zimonjic. Djokovic won his third and most recent Rogers Cup title in the last Olympic year, 2012, when Federer and Nadal (who was injured) were absent and Murray withdrew mid-tournament.
Veterans David Ferrer and Gilles Simon have also withdrawn, with Tsonga’s status up in the air as well.