Sports — 14 August 2017
The changing of the guard at 2017 Montreal Rogers Cup

The final of the 2017 Rogers Cup perhaps saw the changing of the guard, as the 20-year-old German Alexander Zverev defeated 36-year-old Federer in straight sets, 6-3 6-4.

Zverev became only the third player to beat Federer in 2017, taking back to back titles after his victory in Washington last week.

This was a week where the upcoming generation of tennis stars pushed the established top players to the brink, and in cases beyond. Rising 18-year-old Canadian Shapovalov sat at World # 143 prior to this week, but had an outstanding run, beating both Del Potro and Nadal, on his way to the semi-finals, the sunshine of Montreal seeming a long way from the unfortunate incident in the Spring Davis Cup tie in Ottawa. Shapovalov handled himself with maturity throughout the week, becoming the darling of the crowd as he showed huge character and determination to battle his way past former Major winners. It was Zverev who stopped his run in a close fought semi, and these two look destined to meet many times in the future. Nick Kyrgios, showed his usual flashes of brilliance, before going down meekly to Zverev in the round of 16. The one disappointment on the rising player front was #3 seed Thiem, who many see as a future #1, as he bowed out early to Schwartzman.

Federer had breezed through the rounds, dropping just one set on his way to the final. But perhaps time has taken a toll. Throughout his Press Conferences Federer had mentioned the looking after of his body- the longer warm ups, the hard work to strengthen his knee post-surgery, and the increased recovery time. In the final however, Federer seemed to struggle with his serve, perhaps nursing an injury, and Zverev was able to capitalize to take the title.

The US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year, starts on 28 August. With top names such as Djokovic and Wawrinka already out for the remainder of the season and World #1 Murray a doubt having not played since Wimbledon, the time may have come for the next generation to step up.

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Marc DesRosiers

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