Leylah Fernandez tosses up a ball to serve.

Photo : @WTA

Blink, and you may have missed the tennis off-season.

The ATP and WTA Tours kick off their 2022 seasons this week and they are doing it in a big way with six events featuring almost every big name in the game.

There is so much going on this week, it’s a dream start to 2022 (for tennis). Here’s what you need to know:

What to Watch: Canadians all over Australia

ATP Cup

Team Canada will look for redemption after their disappointing Davis Cup performance by kicking off the season at another team competition, the ATP Cup.

This time, the Canadians are sending their A-team, with both Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov in action along with Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez, who competed for Canada at the Davis Cup in the fall.

Things did not get off to a great start for the Canadians in Sydney, as they were beaten 3-0 by the United States in the first tie of the group stage.

Auger-Aliassime lost a three-set heartbreaker to Taylor Fritz, while Schnur lost to John Isner in the other singles match. Shapovalov, who is still recovering from a recent bout of COVID-19, only played doubles in that first tie alongside Auger-Aliassime. The pair lost in straight sets.

Next up for Canada is Great Britain on Monday night. Germany, led by world No. 3 Alexander Zverev, is the fourth team in the very challenging Group C. Canada will need big wins in both of their remaining ties if they hope to reach the semi-finals.

While the ATP Cup boasts a star-studded field, with seven of the world’s Top 10 and 14 of the Top 20 in action, the biggest names have struggled so far, with Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini all losing their opening matches.

Russia are the defending champions. 16 total nations are competing in the ATP Cup, divided into four groups of four. Only the top team in each group advances to the semi-finals. This is the third edition of the tour’s official team competition and the third different competition format in as many editions.

Adelaide 1

Leylah Fernandez comes into the 2022 season with higher expectations from the public than ever before. She is wasting no time in getting her season under way, competing at the Adelaide International this week.

Fernandez has already hit the ground running in 2022, beating Ekaterina Alexandrova in her first match of the year in straight sets. Next up is a potential showdown with world No. 9 Iga Swiątek.

Rebecca Marino lost in Adelaide qualifying, but Gabriela Dabrowski will be kicking off her season in doubles alongside Giuliana Olmos. Fernandez is also competing in doubles with Erin Routliffe.

The field in Adelaide, a WTA 500 event, is loaded and features five Top 10 players, including the top two players in the world Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka. Also in action is Maria Sakkari, Paula Badosa, Sofia Kenin, Elena Rybakina, Elina Svitolina, Coco Gauff and Petra Kvitova.

This may be the best field ever assembled for a 500-level event.

The men’s side, which is only a 250 event, has a fairly impressive field too. Gael Monfils is the top seed and is joined by Karen Khachanov, Marin Cilic and Frances Tiafoe to name a few.

Melbourne

There are three draws taking place in Melbourne this week, two for the women and one for the men.

The men’s event, and one man in particular, steals the spotlight as Rafael Nadal will be competing in a tour-level match for the first time since the Citi Open last August.

Nadal is the highlight of the field which also includes Reilly Opelka, Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin and Andy Murray.

There are two women’s events in Melbourne this week. “Melbourne 1” boasts the more impressive field and also has a big name making their return as Noami Osaka, the defending Australian Open champion, will be in action for the first time since losing to Fernandez at the US Open. Simona Halep is the second seed.

“Melbourne 2” is led by Jessica Pegula, Elise Mertens, and Daria Kasatkina.

Under the Radar

For once, it is a fairly quiet week for Canada outside of the main tours.

The only Canadian in action on the ITF circuit this week is Katherine Sebov, who is competing at the W25 Monastir event in Tunisia.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.