The mood of Montreal tennis fans is swinging into high gear.

The National Bank Open is returning to the city this August at full capacity without any COVID-19 restrictions for the first time since 2019.

“I feel fantastic. Let’s see them, let’s see them play. I love tennis and this is one of the best venues in the world to watch tennis,” Montreal tennis enthusiast Yves Faguy told Global News.

The world’s top male players are scheduled to be back, including seven-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, all-time grand slam leader Rafael Nadal and current number one Daniil Medvedev.

Also entered in the event is Montreal native and world number nine Félix Auger-Aliassime, as well as Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who’s ranked 23rd.

“Seeing all the best players in the world is exciting and looking forward to this year’s tournament,” said Jacques Pelland , another tennis enthusiast.

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But world number two Alexander Zverev won’t be playing due to an injury and Djokovic may not be allowed to compete because he remains unvaccinated.

The tournament’s director isn’t concerned because the field of players is so strong.

“I can’t wait. I feel like a spectator — like, wow,” Éugene Lapierre, the tournament director, told Global News.

Lapierre says it’s too early to determine whether a new attendance record will be set, but said ticket sales are strong and he remains optimistic.

“I think we’re on the pace for that,” he said.

One new element being added this year is a wellness program to help players manage mental health issues.

“We will create also some quiet rooms in the players lounge to make sure there is a space to relax, to meditate because we know what it’s like when you’re on the road all the time,” Valérie Tetreault, the communications director of Tennis Canada, told Global News.

The qualifying rounds begin Aug. 6 and the main draw is set for Aug. 9.

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Tickets are on sale now.

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