Sports has long held the attention of spectators and participants, as any outcome is possible. While certain competitors and teams might seem superior on paper, that doesn’t always translate to performance in game situations.
Sports fans have come to appreciate an underdog in various events, particularly those where success seems out of reach for them. Such love for an underdog is often shown through films; although these moments of support might only come around occasionally, many will remember them fondly for years afterwards.
The National Bank Open
The National Bank Open (NBO) is an event in which many believe some do not typically have a chance of winning whenever they meet the favorite at the event. However, there have been a number of so-called “Cinderella moments” that have provided fans in Toronto and all around the world with memorable surprises.
The tournament has usually continued to be played out by the biggest names when it comes to the final, but there have been instances where there have been some real shocks and unexpected names in the showpiece.
Many will be hoping for more of the unexpected in the 2023 edition of the NBO tournament this summer. The competition will begin on August 5, and will run for a week as it concludes on August 13.
Fans in Toronto are able to go and watch the Men’s action and tickets are already available to purchase. These can range from just $20 on the first day, although they will climb in price as the tournament goes on. At the moment, standard tickets for the final (which includes the doubles, too) are priced from $125. If you want to go for a VIP experience, you can obtain a ticket from $470.
Pablo Carreño Busta won the tournament last season when he defeated Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, however he has been on a hiatus in 2023 and has not been seen on a tennis court for a while. Therefore, he will unlikely return to action in Toronto and defend his title. If he does not, we are guaranteed a new champion.
Top 5 “Cinderella Moments” in NBO History
As a result, there are many that will be hoping we get another “Cinderella moment” at the 2023 NBO event. If we do, perhaps it would rank as highly as the top five that are widely recognized already.
Those top five moments include:
- Guillermo Canas – Champion in 2002 when he was unseeded and defeated players such as Rodger Federer, Marat Safin, and Andy Roddick (who he beat in the final).
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Champion in 2014, beating three of the top four in that period with wins over Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Federer. It was the last time the Frenchman would win a Masters 1000 competition, too.
- Stefanos Tsitsipas – A finalist in 2018, the Greek was not a player that was expected to reach that stage despite his career today. He beat a host of names including Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, and Kevin Anderson before falling to Rafael Nadal. Stefanos Tsitsipas is still one of the top players in 2023, being the number 5 favorite at the US Open according to sport betting Canada websites.
- Harel Levy – Runner-up in 2000, Levy made the most of a fortunate draw as he did not face a seed until the final when Safin beat him. However, Levy had to come through from qualifying as he was ranked 144th in the world at that time. He won seven matches to reach the final, more than anyone else during the competition.
- Todd Woodbridge – In 1996, Woodbridge managed to reach the final as a singles competitor. Highly successful as a doubles player, his place in the final as a sole competitor was a bit of a shock. He had a magical run to the final, beating players such as Sebastien Lareau, Daniel Nestor, Mark Philippoussis, and Marcelo Rios, before crashing back to reality when Wayne Ferreira defeated him in the final.
Will we get another “Cinderella Moment”?
As mentioned, anything can happen in sport and while it is rare for such a feat to happen, tennis has proven to be a game where an underdog winning and going on a run is a real possibility. Naturally, things such as the draw and the players involved will play a role, but there is no reason not to look out for one being achieved!