Saturday, July 15, 2006

Exciting Events happening in this year's Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament (Toronto)

This year's Rogers Cup tennis tournament, held in Toronto between Aug 5-13, is shaping up to be quite a special event. Five former champions highlight the ATP Tour's return to Rexall Centre, Toronto's new tennis stadium which opened two years ago.

The world-class field is highlighted by the Top 50 players on the ATP Tour. Competitors will include defending champion and two-time French Open winner, Rafael Nadal, 2004 Rogers Cup titlist and world No. 1 ranked Roger Federer and 2003 tournament winner Andy Roddick.

Also included in the Top 50 entry list is three-time Rogers Cup champion, Andre Agassi. The American tennis legend will be making his final appearance on Canadian courts following the recent announcement of his retirement which will take place at the conclusion of the 2006 U.S. Open.

What makes this year's edition of the Rogers Cup a really special occasion is that this year marks the 125th anniversary of the Canadian tournament. It is the third-oldest tennis tournament behind only Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. As such, Tennis Canada is planning to hold a 125th Anniversary Celebration during the Monday (August 7) evening session. Expected to be part of this celebration is Roy Emerson, a former singles and doubles champion of this event. In addition, on this same night, with Andre Agassi making his final competitive appearance in Canada, Tennis Canada is finalizing plans to celebrate his career. This should definitely be a night to remember.

Another unique event that Tennis Canada is organizing for this year's tournament is a Celebrity Tennis Challenge. This celebrity challenge aims to raise money for Tennis Canada's Tennis Matters initiative. This money will go toward financing new indoor tennis programs at 14 schools and community centres in the Jane-Finch area. These programs will cost about $500-1,000 for each location so every bit helps. Each location will receive racquets, balls and nets, plus instruction from Tennis Canada coaches. You can even pledge your support now, by visiting the Give a School Floor Tennis site.

Celebrities that have been scheduled to play in this Challenge include Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman, NHL star Jason Spezza, former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Gary Leeman, Canadian Idol judge Jake Gold, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, CFL commissioner Tom Wright and Rogers Cup tournament director and former ATP pro Grant Connell, with the possibility of more names to be announced as we get closer to the tournament.

Who knows, perhaps the volunteers in my Transportation Committee will get a chance to drive one or more of these celebrities!

Now a question for you readers out there... I mentioned 4 of the 5 former champions based on the Top 50 entry list that are slated to come to Toronto in this blog posting. Who is the 5th former champion?

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Anonymous said...

Would the answer be Martina Hingis?

Jason said...

Unfortunately, that isn't the answer that I'm looking for. It would be a male player (since it is the men in Toronto this year).

Anonymous said...

Gary Leeman? Wow, there is a name from the past.

Hopefully they add some more Toronto Maple Leaf players, especially those that are currently on the team!

They should try to get Matt Stajan to come out. He lives close by (out in Mississauga).

Frenchman said...

THe answer is...Johansson, the Swede. And what do I win?

Anonymous said...

No challenge is complete without Doug Gilmour. No Gilmour, no real challene.

Gilmour over Connell in a tiebreaker.

Jason said...

The answer is Tomas Johansson.

It'd be cool if Tennis Canada could get Dougie to come down from Kingston for the Thursday. We'll see what happens. I know this for sure. It won't be anyone in my committee driving to Kingston to pick him up.

Anonymous said...

What about Marat Safin?

He is a defending champion.. Why did you ignore him?

Jason said...


Unfortunately, Marat Safin is not on the Top 50 entry list, as his ranking is too low.

This means that if he wants to play in Toronto, he would either have to qualify to get into the main draw, or Tennis Canada would have to give him a wild card.

Jason said...

I guess Marat's a special case. He's not in the Top 50, however, due to his injuries, he has a protected ranking.

As such, he'll be in the main draw of the tournament.