September 28, 2021

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First four withdrawals from National Bank Open announced

Djokovic at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in 2018.

Despite the announcement of an absolutely full field for the National Bank Open in Toronto, it was inevitable there would be withdrawals in an Olympic year.

There are many other issues, too, from COVID to challenges entering the country to strict bubbles to a summer schedule that’s just too much.

(The top 50 in the world are automatically entered in Masters 1000 tournaments, even if they’re hobbling around on one leg).

But as of Friday, per Tennis Canada, the first four withdrawals are already in the books.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, currently in Tokyo pursuing Olympic gold (and the Golden Slam) is the most noteworthy of the three.

It’s no surprise, even though he’s a four-time champion.

Adding the Olympic event to an already packed schedule, at his age and with what he has at stake this summer, meant something had to go.

Thiem, Goffin and Wawrinka battling injuries

Wawrinka at the Rogers Cup in Montreal in 2015.

The other three have been dealing with ongoing injuries of various lengths: Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and Stan Wawrinka.

Thiem is still walking around with wrist in a splint, after retiring in the first set of his opening match in Mallorca in June. He had been beaten in five sets in the first round of Roland Garros a few weeks before, in a shocking upset.

Goffin hasn’t played since retiring after the second set of his first-round match in Halle in June, because of an ankle injury.

Thiem – in his mercifully short-lived platinum phase – at the Rogers Cup in Montreal in 2015.

And Wawrinka – more concernedly for his career at age 36, had foot surgery over the winter and despite entering a lot of tournaments in the last few months, still hasn’t made his way back.

He hasn’t played since Doha in early March.

Medvedev – assuming he makes the date – the top seed

Daniil Medvedev will become the No. 1 seed – assuming he makes it to Toronto.

Goffin at the Rogers Cup in Montreal in 2015.

None of the above-mentioned players have yet withdrawn from the following week’s tournament in Cincinnati.

Marin Cilic, Marton Fucsovics, Taylor Fritz and Albert Ramos-Viñolas will move into the main draw.

Sam Querrey, Soonwoo Kwon, Alexei Popyrin and Kevin Anderson are bumped up into the qualifying.

They probably didn’t want to announce this before the tickets officially go on sale Monday. But it’s hard to keep a secret these days.