MONTREAL – There are a few Canadians on site at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, including eight players fighting for a spot in this weekend’s qualifying in a wild-card playoff.
But of the rest of the field, it seems Spain’s Carla Suárez Navarro was the first to arrive – and the only one around on Tuesday.
Suárez Navarro arrived on Court 3 in the afternoon, perhaps to get ready for a practice.
And given there was no net on the court yet, she and her trainer had to improvise.
The fencing between Court 3 and Court 4 substituted in for a net – albeit a high one – as they played a little soccer tennis.
No matter what, a tennis player will always make use of an empty court.
Here’s what it looked like.
Top 25 in the qualies
You won’t often see a top-25 player arrive at a tournament this early. But Suárez Navarro didn’t originally enter before the deadline, nearly six weeks ago.
(We don’t know if that was inadvertent, or she made a late decision to play).
So she has to play the qualifying, for which the deadline is three weeks in advance.
It was similar to what happened to Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in San José this week. Despite her ranking, she ended up as the No. 1 seed in the qualifying – and she lost in the first round.
In a full-circle kind of thing, Sabalenka ended up in the Rogers Cup main draw on Wednesday, after the first official withdrawal of the tournament.
Dominika Cibulkova, a former finalist, is out. And Sabalenka was next in line on the main-draw alternates list.
Since Suárez Navarro was never on the main-draw entry list, she couldn’t squeeze in that way, via the rules.
She’ll be ranked at least 20 spots higher than anyone else in the qualifying draw. Which doesn’t mean her main-draw spot is carved in stone – as Sabalenka found out, to her dismay.