Tennis Canada has reluctantly been forced to accept defeat in the innovatory idea to split draws in Rogers Cup next year when the nation’s leading men’s and women’s tennis tournaments will be held simultaneously in Toronto and Montreal.Traditionally in the Rogers Cup, a major part of the build up to the US Open, the ATP World Tour went to one city and the WTA Tour the other with venues alternating bi-annually and with one tournament following the week after other. However the long-term decision to make Cincinnati a top tier combined event combining men and women from 2011prompted serious thinking.
Tennis Canada gave serious consideration to the possibility of staging one half of the draws for the men’s and women’s events in each city, with a finalist from each tournament ‘crossing-over’ to the other city for the championship match.
However player power won again with the overriding opinion of reluctance from both sets of locker rooms, understandably saying that the traveling finalists would be at a disadvantage in terms of preparation and being used to the conditions.
Tennis Canada were prepared to lay on a private jet to transport the finalists the 313 miles that separate the two cities. The journey can take six hours by road but air travel brings it down to barely an hour.
Eugene Lapierre, long-time tournament director in Montreal, said: “We wouldn’t want to risk a situation where a player decides to skip our tournament just because he, or she, doesn’t like the idea of changing cities.
“Some players are extremely sensitive about adjusting to new conditions – surface, stadium, habitat and weather – and, for them, traveling to another city affects the integrity of the tournament. They think it’s like some kind of gimmick.”
One consolation is that tickets sales for the 2010 women’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, beginning August 16 with Elena Dementieva the defending champion, are currently slightly ahead of last year’s men’s event, which went over the 200,000 mark for the first time. This year the men’s event in Toronto runs August 9 thru 15 with Britain’s Andy Murray looking to defend his title.
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