SPORTSNET TENNIS: Rogers Cup in Montreal postponed until 2021

SPORTSNET TENNIS: Rogers Cup in Montreal postponed until 2021

MEDIA CREDITS: Andy Wong/AP – Bianca-Andreescu

MONTREAL — The Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament will not be played this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tennis Canada announced Saturday the event, scheduled for Aug. 7 to 16 in Montreal, is off the schedule.

Quebec’s government announced Friday no sporting events could be held through Aug. 31, though it left the door slightly open for pro teams.

Tennis Canada says the women’s event will return to Montreal in August 2021.

The women’s and men’s Rogers Cup traditionally rotate between Toronto and Montreal. As of Saturday, the men’s event still is on schedule for Toronto in August 2020.

Canadian Bianca Andreescu won the women’s tournament last year in Toronto.

"At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis we were hoping that the situation would be resolved in time to be able to host our tournament as initially planned on the calendar, but we knew that the chances were getting smaller and smaller in recent weeks," Montreal tournament director Eugene Lapierre said in a statement.

"Our priority in the management of this crisis has always been to ensure the safety and well-being of our players, fans, volunteers, partners and employees. It is thus with a heavy heart that we received this news, but we understand that this decision was necessary."

Sat, 11 Apr 2020 13:44:06 EDT


SPORTSNET TENNIS: Wimbledon champ Simona Halep says injured foot is pain free

SPORTSNET TENNIS: Wimbledon champ Simona Halep says injured foot is pain free

MEDIA CREDITS: – Simona-Halep

Two-time major champion Simona Halep’s injured foot is well enough that she has started running on it without pain.

Halep said in a video posted on Twitter on Monday that she still is not healed to the point that she can play tennis.

The injury dates to February and caused her to withdraw from the hard-court tournament in Indian Wells, California, that eventually was called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The spread of the illness has forced all professional tennis tournaments to be postponed or cancelled until at least mid-July.

That includes the cancellation of Wimbledon, where Halep would have been the defending champion this year.

"I miss my team. I miss the players. … I miss everyone from the tour," Halep said in Monday’s video. "I can’t wait to travel again. I can’t wait to play tennis again."

Mon, 06 Apr 2020 18:34:20 EDT


SPORTSNET TENNIS: Bianca Andreescu won’t lose ranking points despite Indian Wells withdrawal

SPORTSNET TENNIS: Bianca Andreescu won’t lose ranking points despite Indian Wells withdrawal

MEDIA CREDITS: – Bianca-Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu withdrew from Indian Wells just days before organizers of the BNP Paribas Open cancelled one of the game’s most prestigious events. But with the COVID-19 outbreak forcing the tennis tour and sports world to come to a halt, Andreescu, the defending champion, will not lose any ranking points – even with an injury forcing her to pull out of the event.

Sportsnet has obtained a memo sent from the WTA to its players Friday evening, in which the tour informed its membership that a frozen ranking has been processed as of March 16. Further, the tour informed its athletes “points from 2019 Indian Wells will remain on the WTA rankings.”

This is a significant development for Andreescu, who has not played a competitive match since November because of a continuous knee issue.

While Friday’s memo brought good news for the Canadian star, it could not have been more damning for the management of the French Open. The WTA sounded off on the controversial move from earlier this week when, seemingly out of nowhere, the French Tennis Federation announced Tuesday that it would be moving the year’s second slam to Sept. 20 to Oct. 4 from its usual date in late May.

The WTA memo reads: “As expressed, it is regrettable and frustrating that you learned about the French Tennis Federation’s decision via Twitter; it was disappointing and a surprise to us as well; the tweet went out while the WTA, ATP, ITF and Roland Garros were meeting to discuss the tournament and options; there was no advanced notice. We understand that the impact of Roland Garros’ move is large and the action disrespectful. The Board is very aligned in recognizing that these actions are contrary to what the WTA stands for and in direct conflict of the wellbeing of its members, players and the tournaments and will continue to advocate for and identify ways to support its members.”

Friday’s letter also informed players that the WTA has joined forces with both the men’s tour (ATP) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to have unified conversations with Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The note says both of those Grand Slams, in addition to the ITF, have reaffirmed their desire to work together.

Players will also be subject to out-of-competition drug testing, even with the WTA tour grounded until at least June 7. They have been ensured that testers will “wear face masks and gloves during sample collection, disinfect surfaces, avoid all body contact and maintain a safe distance from players at all times.” Players are also subject to testing by their national anti-doping organization and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The drug testing is an ITF-sanctioned program, meaning players on the men’s tour will also be subject to the same doping control.

Fri, 20 Mar 2020 21:55:02 EDT


SPORTSNET TENNIS: International tennis officials postpone Fed Cup finals

SPORTSNET TENNIS: International tennis officials postpone Fed Cup finals

MEDIA CREDITS: Elaine Thompson/AP – united-states-bethanie-mattek-sands

The Fed Cup finals have been postponed indefinitely in response to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.

The 12-team women’s tennis tournament was set to be played April 14-19 in Budapest, Hungary. The International Tennis Federation said it still hopes to stage the event in 2020, but did not announce a date.

The Fed Cup serves as a qualifying event for the Olympics and the ITF said it "is working closely with the IOC to address any impact this may have on athlete eligibility" for the Tokyo Games.

All playoff matches between lower-ranked teams, which were set to be played in eight locations around the world, were also postponed.

ITF President David Haggerty said "we are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators."

The Fed Cup finals features a new format this year with 12 teams competing in four groups before a knockout phase. The United States is set to play Spain and Slovakia in Group C.

Wed, 11 Mar 2020 15:17:15 EDT


SPORTSNET TENNIS: Garcia outlasts Vekic to win Nottingham Open

SPORTSNET TENNIS: Garcia outlasts Vekic to win Nottingham Open

MEDIA CREDITS: Tim Goode/PA via AP – Tennis-WTA-Garcia-celebrates-win

NOTTINGHAM, England — Caroline Garcia of France defeated former champion Donna Vekic 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) to win her first title of the year at the Nottingham Open on Sunday.

Top-seeded Garcia, who finished her 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 semifinal victory over American Jennifer Brady earlier Sunday, recovered after losing the first set to outlast the 2017 winner over more than 2 1/2 hours.

It was the 28th-ranked Garcia’s seventh career title and her second on grass after her win in Mallorca in 2016.

Both players hit seven aces and Vekic converted all four of her break points, with Garcia going 2-for-2 on break points.

The rain finally held off after ravaging much of the rest of the tournament. The opening two days were completely washed out before organizers decided to switch the first and second round matches indoors, while Vekic’s quarterfinal against Kristina Mladenovic started on grass but had to be completed indoors on Friday.

Sun, 16 Jun 2019 15:58:33 EDT


SPORTSNET TENNIS: Fernandez hopes to follow idol’s footsteps after French Open title

SPORTSNET TENNIS: Fernandez hopes to follow idol’s footsteps after French Open title

MEDIA CREDITS: Jean-Francois Badias/AP – Leylah-Annie-Fernandez

MONTREAL — Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez achieved her primary goal for this season by winning the French Open junior girls’ singles title, but now an even more daunting task awaits her — making the transition to the pro tour.

Fernandez, who is just 16, makes no secret of her desire to follow in the footsteps of one of her idols, Justine Henin. The Belgian won the junior title at Roland Garros in 1997 before going on to win the women’s title in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Henin, now 37, won a total of seven Grand Slam titles over her career.

"A coach told me that my game resembles hers a lot," the Laval, Que., native told reporters Tuesday in Montreal. "I am very happy to hear that, because I want to win Grand Slam tournaments. I want to have her attitude. She is fast, she is strong, she is very intelligent on the court."

By all appearances, she is on the right track.

She is the first Canadian to have won the junior girls’ French Open title. The only other Canadian to win a Grand Slam girls’ title was Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon in 2012.

Fernandez realizes she still has a lot to learn before she can be compared to Henin, and she knows significant changes will be needed to allow her to excel on tennis’s biggest stage

She currently trains in Florida, where her father Jorge Fernandez is her coach. She is not part of the national development program, which means she does not receive the support and funding of Tennis Canada. However her father and Sylvain Bruneau, the coach in charge of Tennis Canada’s women’s program, have been in discussions for several weeks to bring her to the next level.

"Leylah is among the elite young players in Canada — think of Denis [Shapovalov], Felix [Auger-Aliassime] and Bianca [Andreescu]," Bruneau said. "Yes, she trains in Florida, but Tennis Canada is involved." He noted that Tennis Canada coach Hugo Di Feo was at Roland Garros to lend her a hand.

Bruneau said he and her father have drawn up a list of coaches who could help the young player, and a selected coach could be announced soon.

Still, Fernandez is a rough diamond who still needs polishing.

"She is only 16, so she still has a lot of work ahead of her," Bruneau said. "She’s learning. She has to continue to develop her game. However what is interesting, is that she has a lot of tools — her game is very versatile — and I believe she is already one of the best players in the world under 18."

He added that there is a good chance Fernandez will get a wild-card spot for the Rogers Cup in Toronto Aug. 3-11.

Bruneau gave media an update on Andreescu, whom he coaches and who has not played since withdrawing with an injury before her second round match at the French Open.

He said there is a good chance Andreescu will not return to competition in time for Wimbledon, which opens July 1.

"She has consulted several doctors to get some diagnoses," he said.

There is no schedule for her return, he added, but he is hopeful she will be fit to play the Rogers Cup.

Tue, 11 Jun 2019 18:19:49 EDT