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?
Rogers Cup, tennis, Canada, Toronto