Photo : Sara-Jade Champagne / Tennis Canada
1- 40 years of Rogers Cup
A discussion panel led by Rogers Cup’s most eminent figures, a throwback to 1979 on Court No.7 and countless memories relived on video marked the weeklong 40th anniversary celebrations. True to form, the 2019 edition created a totally unique experience for players and fans.
2- Strong Canadian contingent
For the first time in Montréal since 2013, there were six Canadians in the main draw—the highest number of any nation. Wild cards Brayden Schnur, Peter Polansky and Vasek Pospisil joined Milos Raonic, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov. Finding his way into the third round made Félix the most successful of our homegrown heroes. In doubles, Shapovalov and his partner Rohan Bopanna suffered a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals to Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands (7-6(3), 7-6(7)).
3- More tennis for fans
Eugène Lapierre mentioned a number of changes aimed at bringing more tennis to fans, including more shaded areas and food and beverage offerings. Players could choose from a broader selection of meals and had access to a larger gym. In addition, the tournament director would like to add stands around the outer courts. Also in the works are new lawns and landscaping and waterproofing for the suites and boxes.
4- Tough draw
Even without Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, the draw was tough. For the first time since 2009, the eight quarterfinalists were all seeded players. Montréal is the only city in the world in which the Top 8 played in the quarterfinals (2009) since the creation of the ATP Masters 1000 series in 1990.
5- Félix, Félix, Félix
Before the tournament got underway, Eugène Lapierre affirmed that it was neither Rafa nor Roger who caused ticket sales to skyrocket. This year, spectators wanted to see the brilliant Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime. Local fans cheered loudly for the Canadians but perhaps had the slightest preference for the Quebecer, as anyone who saw his back-to-back matches against Pospisil and Raonic will tell you.
6- New fan favourite
Daniil Medvedev, who became the first Russian player to reach the Rogers Cup final since Marat Safin in 2000, charmed fans, en français! By speaking French in his post-match interviews and press conferences, Medvedev found the perfect way to conquer local hearts. He first learned the language at 17 when he moved to France to train with Gilles Cervara.
7- From Russia with love
Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev starred in the first all-Russian semifinal in the history of Rogers Cup. While their styles may be quite different, the countrymen share a number of similarities. They were both born in Moscow 23 years ago, they’re both 6’6” right-handers and they both arrived in Montréal with four ATP titles apiece. Medvedev got the upper hand but Khachanov fought until the bitter end (6-1, 7-6(6)).
8- Another final for Rafa
Rafael Nadal emerged victorious from his clash of generations with Daniil Medvedev (6-3, 6-0) and claimed his fifth Canadian Masters and third in Montréal. With the win, the King of Clay also becomes the King of Masters 1000. On Sunday, he collected his 51st Masters triumph and 35th crown.
9- New attendance record
A new edition of Rogers Cup often brings a new attendance record. This year, the 2019 tournament hit a brand new high. While it already held the record for the highest attendance for a one-week tournament after hosting 216 097 spectators in 2017, Rogers Cup broke records again. Despite the cancellation of a session, 223 023 fans came through the stadium gates.
Next year is an Olympic year, but it won’t be like the year of the Rio or London Games. The full week between the Olympics and Rogers Cup means that tournament organizers won’t have such a difficult time attracting players to Montréal or Toronto. And don’t forget reigning Rogers champion Bianca Andreescu!