On the odd years it is the men and on the even it is the women. The Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament sees Montreal swapping with the city of Toronto to host either the top male or female tennis players in the world. This year we have the men. It is no small time tournament as it is one of only a few ATP Master Series tournaments that are played worldwide each year and most players use it as a warm up for the U.S. Open. As a result we usually get plenty of the top ranked players who show up. It is also attractive due to the prize money totaling nearly $2.5 million U.S.
All the biggies will be in Montreal. World number one ranked player, Roger Federer is the defending champion having won last year in Toronto. World number two, Rafael Nadal, who won the tournament last time Montreal hosted in 2005, will also be here and many are hoping for a dream final between these two titans who have quite a rivalry going. Top ranked players such as Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake, Aussie Lleyton Hewitt and Argentinean David Nalbandian hope to go deep into the tournament. Whereas players such as Chilean Fernando Gonzalez and Spaniard Carlos Moya will hope to sneak up on a few players.
There are a few changes to the format of this year's tournament that you should be aware of. Usually the first Saturday and Sunday were used as the qualification rounds for players who were not granted automatic berths due to their rankings, but this year on Sunday there will several First Round games played. The main draw has been reduced from 64 to 56 and the top 8 seeds have a bye in the first round.
Another change is that the tournament has entered into a partnership with the STM and for every ticket purchased you will receive two bus/metro tickets good for the day of your ticket. The tournament is trying to encourage everyone to attend the tournament by public transportation. Other efforts to 'green' up the tournament (an increase in the number of bicycle racks, more recycling bins on site and tickets printed on recycled paper) have been instituted.
The tournament is an excellent chance for fans to watch their favourites in person and there are opportunities to get up and close to the players. Other than the two main courts you are seated quite close to the court and on the outer courts there is usually plenty of opportunity to watch the players as they practice. Bring your camera for great photo opportunities and a pen for autographs! Another source of pride is that Montreal holds the world record for attendance at a weeklong tournament at just over 173,000. Let's try to break that this year!
-Tickets: www.rogerscup.com or Stade Uniprix Box Office
-Stade Uniprix – 285 Faillon St. West (Metro De Castelnau – Blue Line)