Written by: Michael Emmett
***Michael Emmett is the Director of Tennis Operations at all Mayfair clubs. He is a certified Tennis Canada Coach 3 with a Journalism degree from the University of Texas. Michael spent several years working in sports television at TSN and Sportsnet. Michael is a former National champion who finished his last year of junior tennis ranked #1 in Canada. Michael has coached several National champions when he worked for the All-Canadian Academy at the National Tennis Centre at York University in the early 90s. Michael spent 2 years traveling the world playing the ATP tour satellite circuit as a member of the Molson National Team in 1985 and ’86.***
For those of you still contemplating your decision to attend this year’s Rogers Cup in Toronto let me try to sway you in the right direction. If you are a tennis fan this is one event you can’t miss.
The folks at Tennis Canada have put together a star-studded field that rivals any of the Grand Slams. It is the best field in the history of the event – 19 of the top 20 females in the current world rankings will be playing at the Rexall Centre at York University starting on Monday August 5th. It would have been 20 out of 20, however, Russian superstar Maria Sharapova just pulled out due to injury. The 2nd ranked player in the world hasn’t recovered since falling on her hip at Wimbledon and still needs a few weeks to fully heal. But that still leaves all the game’s best slugging it out on the hard courts as they prepare for the US Open later this month in New York City.
Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na will be the pre-tournament favourites, but as we’ve seen many times with this marquee event, anybody has a chance and some of the ‘lesser lights’ often shine whether the tourney is held in Montreal or Toronto. With all the upsets at Wimbledon a few weeks back, WTA points are at a premium and this tournament will be instrumental as the players jockey into position for seedings prior to the final Grand Slam of the year.
Since 1881, the best players in the world have showcased their skills on Canadian courts. Only Wimbledon and the U.S. Open have longer histories than this major Canadian stop, which is acknowledged by the tennis world to be a top-tier event. The Rogers Cup is steeped in tradition – it is the third oldest tennis professional tennis tournament in the world and year-after-year the players rave about the quality of service they receive while in Montreal or Toronto. This is one event that the players – ATP tour or WTA tour- truly appreciate and refuse to miss.
If you are interested in seeing the game’s future stars then the Rogers Cup in Toronto is the place to be. The tennis community in Canada is gushing over Canadian teenage sensation Eugenie Bouchard. Others to pay attention to include: Laura Robson (UK), Sloane Stephens (US) and Madison Keys (US) – all on the verge of a major breakthrough. Remember is was Stephens who had one of the biggest wins of the year when she upset 16-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in Melbourne at this year’s Australian Open in January.
This tournament has more added value than any year in the tournament’s long history. The Tennis Canada staff has gone above and beyond with an incredible line-up that has the envy of all events world-wide. Here is a breakdown of the week’s agenda outside of the regular WTA matches.
The Rogers Cup presented by National Bank is more than a tennis event as it presents 15 acres of shopping, patios and plenty of entertainment. Celebrities will be all around the facility – including hockey star Alex Ovechkin (Maria Kirilenko’s boyfriend). Don’t miss your chance to see the game’s top stars battle it out for tournament supremacy. Never before has this event featured so much talent in one draw, activities for the entire family and a rock star slate of the game’s former stars. I can’t believe a championship of this magnitude is just around the corner. Hang on tight because it’s going to be a wild ride.