As a general rule, it’s the semifinals and final of a tennis tournament that really get people out of their seats. They are the moments when the best players leave it all on the court in the hopes of lifting the winner’s trophy.
At Rogers Cup, the frenzy starts a little earlier than usual. In the second round on Wednesday, fans will definitely get their money’s worth.
Centre Court will host three Canadians: Peter Polansky (versus Roger Federer) and Denis Shapovalov (versus Juan Martin del Potro) in the afternoon and Milos Raonic (versus Adrian Mannarino) in the evening session, which also happens to feature world no.2 Rafael Nadal of Spain.
On National Bank Court, Kei Nishikori of Japan and Gaël Monfils of France go head-to-head, followed by Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, German sensation Alexander Zverev and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.
Indeed, according to tournament director Eugène Lapierre, it is an unprecedented day of tennis.
“Yesterday, I wrote to the gang in Toronto and told them that I had been here a long time—about 23 years—but never seen anything like this,” he said. “There’s never been a schedule like this one, that we would need two centre courts.”
Mr. Lapierre said he was very happy with the early buzz, adding that Rogers Cup was known to get off to an exciting start.
“They [the players] like us because it often starts in the qualies,” explained Lapierre. “The arrive here and they’re impressed by the crowds. For example, on Tuesday night, Jack Sock was blown away. An American versus a lesser-known Frenchman and the stadium was full! Maybe if the match had been in the US, but, when he plays elsewhere, the crowds are smaller.”
Even Federer had only praise: “Crowd support was great. It wasn’t the closest match today but they were there for Peter when he needed the crowd. I thought that was really nice. And for me, they were there every step of the way. Last night at the Coldplay concert, just to see how the Montréal crowd is again. They were unbelievably loud. […] I feel like it’s the same here at the tournament. Maybe that’s also why I always put this as one of my favourite tournaments, favourite centre courts out there, because they show up in big numbers, they show up with excitement and passion. For us, to play, it’s very inspiring.”
To better include the local community and get more people interested in tennis, there are bleachers on court no.9 in Parc Jarry so passers-by who don’t have tickets can still see some great tennis.
“We wanted everyone who passed by and wanted to know what tennis is to have the chance to find out,” explained Mr. Lapierre.
On Wednesday, everyone will have the chance to see 16th seed Nick Kyrgios and the showdown between 15th seed Jack Sock of the US and former no.3 David Ferrer of Spain.
Not bad for a second round Wednesday at Rogers Cup.