The Pinnacle of Art and Tennis meet at the Rexall Centre

July 5, 2005 11:48 AM

Raynes Crystal sculpture to honour tennis legend and four time Canadian Champion - Monica Seles

Toronto, June 2005 – When the Champions of both the men and women's Rogers Cups raise their respective trophies this year, they will be lifting trophies which have quickly become recognizable “icons” in today's world of professional tennis. The unique women's trophy “Excalibur” which showcases an optical crystal tennis racquet awaits the Champion's magic touch in releasing it from the crystal and granite base reminiscent of King Arthur's legend, whilst the men will battle in Montreal (August 6-14) for the “Global Spin” trophy won by the World #1 Roger Federer last year.

Both trophy designs have been created by the internationally recognized Crystal Artist and Designer Mark Raynes Roberts, who has established a blue chip reputation not only as a world class artist, but also as a visual communicator and branding expert in designing many of Canada's most prestigious awards.

“As a huge fan of tennis since my own boyhood days watching players like Rod Laver, Illie Nastase John Newcombe, and Billie Jean King, it has been a wonderful experience working with Tennis Canada in creating these special “iconic” Rogers Cup trophies. Having always had a passion for playing and watching the game myself, it helped me in understanding what I felt were the key elements necessary in making Canada's most prestigious tennis trophies truly stand out on the circuit. I aspired to capture the clarity of vision and cutting edge technology of Rogers Communications, in a design which used the refractive properties of the crystal in a design the public could also embrace for its originality .” commented Raynes.

Tennis Canada has also commissioned Mark to create a special crystal sculpture to honour tennis legend and firm fan favourite Monica Seles at this year's tournament, for her contribution to the game of tennis in Canada and in acknowledgment of her four-time winning performances at the Canadian Championships. The unveiling and presentation to Monica will take place on August 15, 2005 on Centre Court at the Rexall Centre. “Creating this special art piece means a great deal to me, as Monica has been a wonderful role model and ambassador for young people around the world, both for her fighting spirit on the court and in her grace off the court. I'm thrilled and honoured to be making this special presentation to Monica, who has shown tremendous sportsmanship throughout her career. “commented Raynes.

Stacey Allaster, Tennis Canada Tournament Director, Rogers Cup commented….”We are delighted with the response from both our sponsors, the media, players and public to the new Rogers Cup trophies created by Mark. Tennis Canada is fortunate to work with such a world class artist who shares our passion for excellence and the sport. Mark has truly created iconic trophies for the Rogers Cup championships that are distinctive and leading edge.”

Another exciting element to this year's tournament is that Mark has also been invited by Tennis Canada to exhibit his new 10 piece Pinnacle Crystal Collection. This initiative is in support of Altruvest Charitable Services, ( ) a global best practice organization which helps to build stronger charities and not for profit organizations through programs such as BoardMatch. Mark has chosen to donate 15% of all sales from the Pinnacle Collection in 2005 to help support Rob Follows and Katrina Sandling in their ascent of Everest (May 2005) aimed to create greater awareness of the “Everest for Altruvest” campaign which hopes to raise over $1 million for the long term sustainability of the organization. (Rob and Katrina will both be in attendance on the opening evening of the Rogers Cup on August 15, 2005)

“I would like to thank Tennis Canada for inviting Raynes Crystal to exhibit the new Pinnacle Collection at this year's tournament and for their kind support of Altruvest Charitable Services in their endeavour to build stronger charities across Canada from within. Rob Follows, Founder Altruvest, is a visionary leader who I believe is changing the face of how the charitable sector can and will provide a greater levels of governance and effect on communities in the future” commented Raynes.

Raynes Crystal masterpieces can be found in private and corporate art collections around the world. A select list of recipient's include H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Prime Minister of Canada, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Bridges, Roger Federer, Diana Krall, Sir Mick Jagger and Martina Navratilova amongst others. In 2002 Mark was commissioned to create the “Book of Wisdom” which was presented to Dr. Nelson Mandela in recognition of being only the second person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen.

Raynes Crystal art will also be presented at two other prestigious events this summer including the Canada's Walk of Fame Awards on June 5, 2005, which will include new inductee's Alanis Morrisette, Paul Anka, and Keifer Sutherland amongst others. Then on July 10, 2005, Raynes special edition 20th Anniversary “Champion's Flame” trophy will be presented to the winner of the Toronto Molson Indy, where last year Sebastien Bourdais won the inaugural trophy in Toronto, and Paul Tracy in Vancouver.