Maria, Serena, Venus, Justine and Amelie Set to Renew Tennis Rivalries in Toronto

July 5, 2005 11:45 AM

World's Best headline Player Entry List for 2005 Rogers Cup, Presented by American Express

May 2, 2005 - Tennis Canada announced today the 12 “Gold Exempt” players on the official entry list for its premier Tier I women's tournament, to be held August 13-21 at the Rexall Centre in Toronto.

Under the improved WTA Tour Player Commitment System, “Gold Exempt” refers to top players who are contractually obligated to Tier I tournaments. Those committed to play in Toronto include 3 out of the top 4 players in the world and three former Rogers Cup champions. The list features a collection of young superstars and dynamic personalities who will compete for the high stakes this summer.

“The star power of this field is going to light-up Toronto,” said Tournament Director Stacey Allaster. “The combination of world-class athleticism and celebrity profile that these women bring to the court makes our tournament this summer's must-see event.”

Prior to the Tour Year, 20 top Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players (including the top 16 ranked singles players) are designated as “Gold Exempt” by the worldwide tournament directors. Gold exempt players are obligated to enter into Player Commitment contracts with the Tour and commit to a specific number of Tier I, Tier II and Tier III level Tournaments.

“The Tour has been proactive in dealing with the issue of player representation amongst Tier 1 Tournaments” added Allaster. “These improvements are progressive steps in ensuring our fans are treated to a world-class field.”

The complete 56-player main draw entry list for Toronto – along with four wild cards distributed at the discretion of Tennis Canada – will be announced in the weeks preceding the tournament .

Maria Sharapova , 18, will be one of the hottest players to invade Toronto this summer. The Russian sensation was awarded the 2004 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Player of the Year Award after rising from No.13 to become the third youngest player in history to win at Wimbledon and winning the year-end tour championships. Of the three Tier 1 events she has played in 2005 she has been a semi-finalist, finalist and winner. A native of Siberia, the 18-year-old has taken both the tennis and celebrity worlds by storm.

Perennial power Serena Williams will look to repeat her winning ways in Toronto this summer. The World No.4 and 2005 Australian Open champion captured the Canadian title in 2001.

Fellow Rogers Cup titlist Justine Henin-Hardenne (2003) will look to add another major footprint to her 2005 comeback trail. The Belgian, a former World. No. 1, has already won two tournaments this season, proving that she is back on top of her game and ready to compete in Toronto. Another former World No.1, Kim Clijsters , will also be using the Rogers Cup to continue a strong 2005 season that already includes back to back Tier 1 victories at Indian Wells and Miami.

Defending champion and World No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo will face a determined field looking to dethrone her. A perennial fan-favourite in Canada, the French star will look to make it three titles in the last four years on Canadian soil having already won in 2002.

Former Wimbledon and US Open champion VENUS WILLIAMS , currently ranked No. 11, is also committed to the tournament. The senior Williams has compiled an impressive 31 WTA Tour singles titles over her career. Earlier this season the former World No. 1 defeated sister Serena in the quarterfinals of a Tier 1 event in Miami.

The 2005 Rogers Cup, presented by American Express will be a key event for the stars of women's tennis. Important US Open Series points are on the line (the tournament Champion in Toronto will increase their chances of doubling their prize money at the U.S. Open). The closely contested World No. 1 ranking could also be affected by what happens at the Rexall Centre August 13-21.

The US Open Series, launched in 2004, links the 5 women's summer tournaments, including the Rogers Cup, to the US Open, creating a cohesive summer hard court season. The US Open Series Bonus Challenge directly links players' performances at US Open Series events with their earnings at the US Open.

Gold Exempt Entry List, 2005 women's Rogers Cup, presented by American Express