The official draw for the 2021 Australian Open was made overnight and seven Canadian players will take part in the main draw. Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC), Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON), Vasek Pospisil (Vernon, BC), Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON), Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) and Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) are all set to compete in the first Grand Slam event of the year.
Andreescu is slated to make her return to the court for the first time since November 2019. Her comeback will begin with an opening round match against Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania. The eighth seed at the event, the young Canadian is in the same quarter of the draw as Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza and Naomi Osaka. Andreescu will be looking to regain top form, which saw her become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title at the US Open back in 2019.
Joining Andreescu in the women’s draw will be Fernandez, who will be making only her fourth Grand Slam main draw appearance. Despite the pause in the tennis season last year, 18-year-old put on some impressive performances and broke into the Top 100 in the WTA rankings. In her first round match, she will take on the no. 18 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium. Other players in her quarter of the draw include Belinda Bencic (no. 11), Karolina Pliskova (no. 6) and Ashleigh Barty (No. 1).
Rounding out the Canadian contingent in the women’s draw will be Marino. After battling with some injury problems over the last year, the Vancouver-native won all three of her matches in Dubai earlier in January, qualifying for her first Grand Slam main draw appearance since 2013. In her opening round match, she will take on tournament Wild Card Kimberly Birrell of Australia and could potentially face the no. 19 seed Marketa Vondrousova in the second round. Marino is in the same quarter of the draw as Andreescu.
Shapovalov is the highest ranked Canadian on the men’s side, as he is set to be the tournament’s no. 11 seed. He is looking to better his run to the third round in 2019, which was his best result in Australia to date. Standing in his way will be the young Jannik Sinner of Italy, in what will be the first meeting between the two players. In an all too familiar turn of events, Shapovalov could face compatriot Auger-Aliassime in the third round, the two having faced twice before at Grand Slam events.
Also among the seeds at the tournament, is world no. 15 Raonic. A semi-final appearance in 2016 was his best performance at this Grand Slam event. He will take on Federico Coria of Argentina in the opening round, with potential match-ups against Stan Wawrinka (no. 17), Taylor Fritz (no. 27) and Novak Djokovic (No. 1).
Auger-Aliassime will be the third Canadian man to be seeded in the first Grand Slam of the year. Thanks to his ranking, he will be seeded no. 20. The 20-year old is hoping to reach the second round for the first time in Australia, but will have to defeat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany in his opening match. Auger-Aliassime finds himself in the same quarter of the draw as Grigor Dimitrov (no. 18), Diego Schwartzman (no. 8) as well as fellow Canadian Shapovalov.
For his part, Pospisil climbed his way back up the rankings over the past two years after being sidelined due to injury. He made some memorable runs in 2020, notably reaching two ATP 250 finals. His best performance at the Australian Open was when he reached the third round in 2014 and 2015. This year, he will have the tough task of taking on the no. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in his first match.