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Thu, Oct. 17

My Point: The Canadian Open, Roger’s Cup, Montreal and Toronto

Many people don’t realize that the Canadian Open is the third longest running tournament in the world. It began in 1881, not long after the very first U.S. Championships were held in Newport, Rhode Island, that same year.

Wimbledon was the very first noted tennis championships held in 1877 in England.

What makes this tournament a bit unusual is that the men and women play at the same time, but in two different cities, Montreal and Toronto.

They, the WTA women’s tour and the ATP men’s tour, alternate sites each year. The men play odd years in Montreal and even years in Toronto - and the women are vise-versa.

So, unless you like to do a lot of driving (the cities are 336 miles apart) you’ll probably only go to one or the other. Toronto always has larger crowds no matter who plays - the men or the women.

This year the men are in Montreal and play at the IGA Tennis Center, and the Women will be in Toronto at the Aviva Centre for what are both called, “The Roger’s Cup.”

You’d think that if the same (main) sponsor was running each tournament, the prize money would be equal, but that is not the case, the ATP run’s a masters events (1,000) and the women a Premier 5.

The men will bring home around $5.7 million this year and the women approximately $2.8 million. The grand slam tournaments offer equal prize money, but most of the rest of the events for men and women are basically separate business tours with their own sponsors...thus it just depends on how each is funded.

With that said, professional tennis for men and women has a closer ratio of pay for both than any other professional sport for both sexes, but most of it is decided by the business side of what takes place and the two different levels determine a large part of what that amount of prize money will be.

In the men’s field this year the top four seeds are Rafael Nadal at one, Dominic Thiem two, Alexander Averev three and Stefanos Tsitsipas at four.

The women’s top four are: Ashleigh Barty at one, Naomi Osaka at two, Karolina Pliskova at three and Simona Halep (who just won Wimbledon) at four.

Both the men’s and women’s draw have 64 singles players and doubles will field 32 teams.

Andy Murray will be playing in the men’s doubles with Feliciano Lopez and Mike Bryan (seeded 7th) will be looking to win another title here.

There’s talk by Andy Murray that he may take a “wild card” to play his first singles tournament match since having hip surgery at the next master’s tournament in Cincinnati, which would then have Novak Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer and Murray in the mix at the same time again.

Maria Sharapova is back and has been given a “wild card” to play in the Roger’s Cup as well in Cincinnati which lends to some extra excitement in the women’s draw.

The “March to the U.S. Open” is always exciting, with the “Open” beginning Aug. 27. Who will be ready to “rock and roll?”

My guess is that if Nadal does well in Canada he’ll skip Cincinnati and just rest up playing some practice matches reading for the Open. And will Serena make it to another Grand Slam singles final? She wants it, No. 24, and she needs it to tie Margaret Court Smith.

The next three weeks will tell the story, so enjoy all the TV tennis you can handle on the final countdown.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.

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