The 2017 Rogers Cup is looking like the 2016 Rogers Cup in a lot of ways. Last year, when the tournament was played in Toronto, so many players decided to miss the event with the Olympics cramping their summer schedules. This year the tournament is in Montreal and there are no Olympic games. However, the tournament has been nothing but withdrawal after withdrawal over the last week. That makes the upcoming draw look like a story of two superpowers: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Murray flirted and then withdrew

It was on July 31 that the website for the Rogers Cup announced that "World No.

1 Andy Murray (would) be the top seed at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank." Just a few days later Murray announced that he would not be in the tournament. When one looks at the top ten on the men's tour, there are plenty of others that have withdrawn as well. In short. two-thirds of the top six will miss the 'Masters' Series event, arguably making it more like a 500-series tournament.

  • World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka won't be in the draw
  • World No. 5 Novak Djokovic won't be in the draw
  • World No. 6 Marin Cilic won't be in the draw.

More withdrawals are probable

Murray, Wawrinka, Djokovic, and Cilic are just the players that are known to be missing the tournament.

Several other players are questionable at this point. Nick Kyrgios is on the players' list but he just pulled out of Washington with an apparent shoulder problem. He also missed Atlanta last week so who knows what kind of shape he's in right now. John Isner, who also appears on the players' list, also pulled out of Washington, in Isner's case pre-tournament. That makes him questionable for the Rogers Cup as well. Isner cited a right-knee problem, no doubt from his difficult efforts in winning both Newport and Atlanta.

Those are just some players with recent injuries and, to be clear, they do not mean that they won't play in Montreal. However, the implications are significant enough. Furthermore, the three tournaments running right now could produce further attrition over the weekend. Tomas Berdych, Sam Querrey, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, and Jack Sock are players that are on the players' list for the Rogers Cup as of Friday morning. They are also alive in currently-running draws on the ATP Tour.

Don't be surprised if at least one of these players pulls out of Montreal due to some kind of ailment to be suffered in the days ahead, even if it's just fatigue.

Who can challenge Nadal and Federer?

When you look at the players that are probable, besides Nadal and Federer, it's hard to find one that might seriously be considered a title threat. Milos Raonic is injury prone and he should be tired when Montreal comes around. He hasn't had a great season by his standards and certainly his playing level isn't what it was at this time last year.

Thiem just went out of Washington and that will help make him fresh for Montreal. However, he is not yet a proven hard courter on the ATP Tour. Nishikori made the final last season in the Rogers Cup, but he too is dipping in form. Grigor Dimitrov is a player that is tough to suggest as he going on a deep run in Montreal based on scores of bad losses over the last few months.

With four spots open in the semifinals, there will be more to the Rogers Cup than just Nadal and Federer. If you were to pick a player that might change the complexion of the tournament, it would probably be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

He's 32 years old now and has been understandably sidetracked in recent months with a newborn. But he was in Wimbledon's third round and played Querrey to five sets. Tsonga also won Lyon back in May, which was actually his third title of the season. He became a father in late March, but before that time he rattled off two titles in Marseille and Rotterdam, the latter being a 500-series event.

He's shown that he's not as good as anyone in the Big Four, but not one of them will ever take him lightly either.

The former champion of the Rogers Cup, from just three years ago, will enter the event after several weeks' rest. If he comes out swinging and the other players not named Federer or Nadal come out limping, then don't be surprised at all if the Frenchman is in the semifinals with an interest in adding a third Masters Series title to his credentials. Judging by his most recent tweet from his verified account, Tsonga isn't a withdrawal risk.

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