Montreal, located in the Canadian province of Quebec, is a multi-cultural city with a distinct international feel. It is the most bi-lingual metropolis in North America and the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. This vibrant city is best known for its great restaurants and dazzling nightlife, but from August 16-22, women’s professional tennis will take center stage as the Rogers Cup will take place at Uniprix Stadium.
The competition in the 56-player main draw will be fierce this year, as every player in the women’s Top 10 has entered. The strong field also includes Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic, all formerly ranked No. 1.
The Rogers Cup women’s event is unique due to the fact it has been alternating venues between Montreal and Toronto with the men’s Rogers Masters event since 1981. That was also the year the Rogers Cup officially became a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event.
Both of those events are now key members of the Olympus US Open Series, and since the Series inception in 2004, the Rogers Cup has played a key role in determining who wins the Olympus US Open Series Bonus Challenge, as the tournament champion receives a hefty 100 OUSOS bonus points. Last year’s Rogers Cup champion Elena Dementieva defeated Sharapova in the singles final and went on to capture the 2009 OUSOS title, finishing ahead of Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic by just 30 points.
In fact, past Rogers Cup champions Dinara Safina (2008), Ivanovic (2006) and Clijsters (2005) all went on to win the OUSOS that same year.
"We’re proud to be part of the 2010 Olympus US Open Series. It gives us so much more visibility in the States, but also credibility and recognition from our southern neighbors," said Rogers Cup Tournament Director Eugène Lapierre. "As the most-attended tournament leading up to the US Open, we want to invite fans from all over the States to come and get a taste of the Olympus US Open Series in somewhat of a European atmosphere," Lapierre said.
Montreal has proven itself as a passionate tennis town. At last year’s Rogers Cup Masters men’s event in Montreal, 200,077 tennis fans poured through the gates, setting an attendance record for a one-week ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. The Rogers Cup women’s event drew 174,706 spectators in Montreal in 2006 but according to Lapierre, if tickets sales remain strong, they are hoping to set a new Sony Ericsson WTA Tour attendance record this summer for a one-week tournament.
The large crowds are a testament to how accessible the sport of tennis has become in this Canadian region."We’re innovating this year again by starting a day early and adding a 10th day to our event so that we have 64 players in the qualies," Lapierre said. "The initial Friday will be offered totally free of charge for fans and will be added to our family week-end (Aug. 13-15) when fans are welcomed on site for free."
In another effort to bring fans closer to the game, the singles final will be broadcast live on radio for the first time – in French and English of course.