After a record-breaking year in Montreal in 2009, the Rogers Masters men’s event returns to Toronto, the provincial capital of Ontario, where anticipation is higher than Toronto’s famed landmark, the 1,815-foot-tall CN Tower.
The ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament will be played Aug. 9-15 at the Rexall Centre on the campus of York University, Canada’s third-largest university. The tournament, established in 1881, is the oldest ongoing event other than Wimbledon and the US Open. Since 1981, it has alternated sites between Montreal and Toronto with the Rogers Cup women’s event.
Last year’s Rogers Masters reached epic highs with a series of first-time achievements. The quarterfinals in Montreal featured the top eight players in the world, the first time that was accomplished in the history of the ATP. The event also became the first one-week tournament to draw more than 200,000 fans, and when Andy Murray defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the men’s singles final, he became the first British player in the tournament’s long history to win the title.
This year’s tournament is on pace to break the Toronto men’s event attendance record of 155,290 which was set in 2006. And why not? With one of the strongest fields in professional tennis, fans attending the Rogers Masters are treated to a full slate of exciting matches from the start of the tournament, including the qualifying rounds on August 7-8, which has been designated as a free family weekend.
"Our two main priorities are fan and player experiences," said tournament director Karl Hale. "Fans in Toronto can expect the best players in the game competing for the title at one of the most storied events in tennis. We have added new events, interactive stations, and top-notch food and beverage. We’ve created a festival-like atmosphere."
Nine of the Top 10 players in the world make up the top half of a loaded draw, headlined by World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, both making their Olympus US Open Series debuts in 2010. Defending Masters champion Andy Murray (No. 4) returns to OUSOS competition after losing to No. 16 seed Sam Querrey at the 2010 Farmers Classic two weeks ago in Los Angeles.
Other notable names include No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 5 Robin Soderling, No. 7 Tomas Berdych and No. 8 Andy Roddick. The top eight seeds all will receive an automatic bye into the second round.
Scheduled special events include a fireworks and laser show on opening night of the main draw. During the tournament, there also will be a celebrity tennis match featuring hockey and basketball stars as well as local television personalities.
"It is very important for us to be a part of the Olympus US Open Series," said Hale. "We have joined a group of tournaments throughout America and Canada that are growing steadily and building a magnificent road to the US Open. We are proud to be part of it."