2015 Tournament Preview: Rogers Cup

February 12, 2015 04:05 PM

Where: Uniprix Stadium, Montreal; Rexall Centre, Toronto

When: Aug. 7-16 (Montreal), Aug. 8-16 (Toronto)

Defending Champions: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Agnieszka Radwanska (singles); Alexander Peya – Bruno Soares and Sara Errani – Roberta Vinci (doubles)

Tournament Website: www.rogerscup.com

History: The Rogers Cup is one of tennis’ more unique tournaments. It features both a men’s event and a women’s event held simultaneously but at two different sites – one in Montreal and one in Toronto, with the men’s and women’s events alternating locations every year. (For 2015, the men are playing in Montreal and the women in Toronto.) The tournament, organized and run by Tennis Canada, started in 1881 for the men and 1892 for the women. That makes it the third-longest-running event in professional tennis, trailing only Wimbledon and the US Open.

Past Rogers Cup champions include Andre Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Rafael Nadal among the men, and Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Serena Williams among the women.

2014 Recap: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga enjoyed perhaps the most impressive title run of any player in 2014, defeating, in order and without a day of rest, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov and Roger Federer to win the Rogers Cup title in Toronto – with all but the win over Murray coming in straight sets. It was the second Masters 1000 victory of Tsonga’s career (2008 Paris Open) and snapped a 10-year run in which the Big Four of Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Rafael Nadal had dominated the Rogers Cup men’s singles title. In doubles, Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares won their second consecutive Rogers Cup crown, defeating Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, 6-4, 6-3, in the final.

In Montreal last summer, Agnieszka Radwanska won her biggest title since Miami in 2012, defeating a resurgent Venus Williams, 6-4, 6-2, in the women’s singles final. The highlight of the tournament – and one of the highlights of the summer – came one round earlier, when Venus defeated younger sister Serena, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3, in the semifinals. It was one of only two losses Serena would suffer between Wimbledon and the end of the year (the other being to Sam Stosur in Beijing). The doubles title went to the top-seeded team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who defeated Cara Black and Sania Mirza, 7-6, 6-3, in the final.

2015 Preview: One of the premier events in tennis outside the four Grand Slams, the Rogers Cup annually draws the top players in the world. And with good reason – a title at the Rogers Cup has been a harbinger of US Open success in recent years. Since 2003, every men’s champion but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has also won a US Open title, with Andy Roddick (2003), Roger Federer (2004, 2006), Novak Djokovic (2011) and Rafael Nadal (2013) claiming both titles in the same year. Among the women, Kim Clijsters (2005), Justine Henin (2007) and Serena Williams (2013) have pulled off the Rogers-US Open double over that same span.

Fun Fact: In his run to last year’s title, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first player to defeat four Top 10 players at a Masters 1000 event since Guillermo Canas did so in 2002 – also in Toronto.

– E.J. Crawford