Seles to play exhibition in Toronto

August 14, 2009 07:29 AM

TORONTO (AP) -- Monica Seles will play one more match in Canada, the country where she made her comeback after being stabbed.

The former world No. 1 plans to take part in an exhibition doubles match Monday in Toronto at the women’s Rogers Cup tournament. She’s being inducted into the tournament’s hall of fame as the only player in the modern era to win four straight Canadian titles.

“I right away said, ‘Yes, I’m coming,”’ Seles said Thursday on a conference call. “What an honor for me, and what a great way to finish off my career.”

Seles won 53 WTA Tour titles during her career, including nine Grand Slam championships. But few victories meant as much to Seles as her triumph at the 1995 Canadian Open in Montreal—her first event after being stabbed in the back by a fan during an event in Hamburg, Germany, more than two years earlier.

Looking as if she hadn’t missed a day, Seles steamrolled through the field, capping an astonishing performance with a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Amanda Coetzer in the final. Seles rode that momentum to a spot in the US Open final two weeks later, where she fell in three sets to rival Steffi Graf.

Seles fondly recalls the positive reaction she received from fans at Uniprix Stadium.

“Just walking down to that stadium, the reception that I received, the signs, the pictures and the high-fives going to the matches … I said, ‘You know what? This feels like home. I made the right decision.”’

Despite falling short in her quest for a fifth championship, losing to Martina Hingis in the 1999 final, Seles still joined Violet Summerhayes (1899-1904) as the only players to win four straight Canadian titles.