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Top-ranked Medvedev set to defend National Bank Open title in Montreal

Wet weather kept many players in a frustrating holding pattern Monday afternoon at the men’s National Bank Open in Montreal. Defending champion Daniil Medvedev had no such issue.

It’s one of the perks of being the world’s top-ranked men’s singles player. Medvedev received a first-round bye as a top seed and likely won’t play his opening match at IGA Stadium until Wednesday.

“I will have two good days of practice and after I’ll start the tournament,” he said. “Of course, I’m very hungry for victories.”

Unlike many of his ATP Tour peers who were stuck waiting to see when the rain would let up, the confident Russian star could relax knowing he only had to tinker with his training calendar.

Medvedev held court with reporters during a 15-minute availability before continuing preparations for his title defense at the Masters 1000 tournament.

He enters the competition on a roll after winning in Mexico over the weekend. Medvedev didn’t lose a set at the tournament en route to claiming his 14th career ATP-level crown.

“Feeling 100 per cent physically [and I’m] mentally ready,” Medvedev said. “Really happy with Los Cabos for sure with the title. Looking forward to here, trying to get some good matches.”

Medvedev, who competes under a neutral flag, could face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the second round.

Kyrgios, who jumped 26 spots to No. 37 in this week’s rankings, was scheduled to open versus Argentina’s Sebastian Baez.

World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal is one of many young stars who are seeded for the US$6.53-million tournament. Others include Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Norway’s Casper Ruud and Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

Rafael Nadal withdrew on the eve of the tournament due to an abdominal injury. The rest of the so-called Big Three — Roger Federer (knee) and Novak Djokovic (unvaccinated) — were also absent.

“It doesn’t change much if they’re here or not because my goal is to win the tournament,” Medvedev said. “So no matter who I play, if it’s going to be a qualifier or wild card, lucky loser, second seed, I just want to win the match.”

Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that started four hours after its originally scheduled start time. In other early matches, American Jenson Brooksby defeated Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 and Russia’s Karen Khachanov topped Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3. Alex Molcan of Slovakia defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (1), 6-4.

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