Skip to main content


Andreescu, Fernandez, Marino among wild cards for National Bank Open

Bianca Andreescu Bianca Andreescu - The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Canadian players Bianca Andreescu, Leylah Fernandez and Rebecca Marino will participate in the upcoming National Bank Open, new tournament director Valérie Tétreault announced Thursday.

The three players were given wild-card entries into the WTA 1000 event, which takes place from Aug. 4-13 in Montreal.

Andreescu, the highest-ranked Canadian player in the main draw at No. 50, will attempt to secure her second career title at the National Bank Open after winning the 2019 event in Toronto.

Fernandez, a product of Laval, Que., is currently ranked 95th in the world and takes part in the Montreal main draw for the second time in her career after playing in the 2021 tournament — a year the event had a limited number of spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 83rd-ranked Marino will try to replicate her best performance in Montreal after reaching the third round of the tournament in 2021.

Due to their rankings — none of them are within the top 44 — the three Canadians received wild cards from the organizing committee to enter the main draw.

Andreescu would need five players to withdraw to no longer need a wild card, which would then make room for another Canadian player.

"When you look at the rankings, the situation didn't evolve in the right direction compared to where we were at the beginning of tournament planning in January and February," said Tétreault during a press conference.

"At that time, we thought that Bianca and Leylah would be able to enter the main draw based on their rankings. That would have been ideal. It would have allowed two other Canadians to have a spot in the main draw."

Montreal's Eugenie Bouchard — a fan favourite who's currently ranked 221st in the world — Carol Zhao of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Toronto's Katherine Sebov could feature in qualifying, which will take place on Aug. 5 and 6.

Tennis Canada is expected to announce the list of players participating in the qualifying rounds next week.

Tétreault was particularly pleased to announce the presence of the entire WTA top 20 at the event.

The top 20 includes what Tétreault called the beginning of a women's "Big Three," composed of Polish player Iga Swiatek, the world No. 1 since April 2022, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 3 Elena Rybakina. The three players have won a total of six Grand Slam titles, including four for Swiatek.

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina has also expressed her intention to participate in the tournament.

"Honestly, I couldn't have hoped for anything better, to have the entire top 20, and also to have Elina Svitolina, who registered using her protected ranking while there has been a lot of talk about her in the last two weeks," said Tétreault.

"I don't know if it's the best list (in the history of the tournament), but surely it's one of the best. And it's in a year where our tournament is not yet mandatory on the WTA circuit," said Tétreault, while clarifying thatit will be mandatory starting in 2024.

"These players really had to make the choice to play in Montreal. I think it demonstrates how much tennis fans here have done their job because they are probably the main reason why the players love playing here."

Several former champions will also make their return, including Danish player Caroline Wozniacki (2010 champion), who announced on June 29 that she will return to play in Montreal after three years away from tennis.

Ninth-ranked Petra Kvitova (2012 champion) will also be part of the tournament, as well as 43-year-old American Venus Williams, who received a wild card from the organizers along with Wozniacki.

"Right now, women's tennis is in a good place," said Tétreault. "You observe the level of play of the best players in the world, and it's quite spectacular. There are exciting storylines, and when you look at some of the finals we've witnessed, especially in Grand Slam tournaments and WTA 1000 events, it was as captivating as men's finals, probably."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2023.