Toronto :World number one Rafael Nadal will make his first tournament start since lifting the Wimbledon title, leading the field at the Toronto Masters as the ATP starts the concluding sprint to the US Open.
Nadal will be coming down from another sporting high after travelling to Johannesburg to watch his beloved Spain win the World Cup.
The Spaniard will get the chance to test the right knee that underwent tests in the days following Wimbledon, with Nadal hoping his fitness finally allows him to make a serious challenge at the last Grand Slam of the season starting in New York on August 30.
The US Open remains the only Major title to elude him.
Meanwhile, serious business beckons in Toronto as Nadal leads a field with most of the major players - save injured reigning US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro - in attendance.
Nadal, who won the Canadian event the last time it was played in Toronto in 2008, also lifted the title in 2005 at Montreal. The tournament alternates between the two cities.
Chasing on the second seeding is Serb Novak Djokovic, who - like number three Roger Federer - will make his first outing since Wimbledon.
Djokovic won the title in 2007 but went out in the quarter-finals a year ago. Federer stands an unaccustomed third in the table after losing a Wimbledon quarter-final to Czech Tomas Berdych.
The Swiss cleared his mind with a Mediterranean family cruise on a luxury yacht last month and has just concluded a week training in Europe with German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The pressure is on the long-time dominator of the sport, who can rescue his season with a sixth US Open crown from the past seven editions.
Nadal, meanwhile, will also sharpen his fitness by playing doubles with Djokovic.
"Last year I didn't play because I had problems with the knee. This year I like the idea," said the Spaniard.
"Doubles is an important part of the game and you can improve lots of parts of your game. Playing with Novak will be positive. He is one of the most talented players in the world."
Fourth-seeded Andy Murray, the defending champion, will aim to dispel disappointment after losing a bid for the Los Angeles title, dropping the final two weeks ago after holding a match point against American Sam Querrey.
Fifth seed Robin Soderling endured a similar finals defeat at home last month to Spain's Nicolas Almagro, the form player on clay during the summer with two trophies in three weeks.
Russia's Nikolay Davydenko takes the sixth seeding as he searches for consistent form after coming back from a broken wrist.
Wimbledon finalist Berdych is seeded seventh ahead of American Andy Roddick, due to drop out of the ranking top 10 for the first time since August of 2006.
Roddick's slide has been accelerated by a fourth-round Wimbledon loss to Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun, a semi-final exit in Atlanta and a third-round loss to Gilles Simon in Washington.