Photo: Jared Wickerham
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and following the measures imposed by various government officials and the ATP, Tennis Canada announced on Wednesday the postponement of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto. The tournament, which was scheduled to take place from August 8 to 16, 2020, will now take place from August 7 to 15, 2021. This postponement means that Toronto will host the men’s event in 2021.
The measures announced by the City of Toronto on May 15 do not allow Tennis Canada to organize a competition in front of spectators. In fact, the city had already indicated that it would not issue permits for events that welcome more than 25,000 people until August 31, a position that Tennis Canada fully supports.
The Montreal Rogers Cup event had already been postponed to 2021 following the announcement made by the Government of Quebec on April 11 prohibiting the holding of festivals and events until August 31, 2020.
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A closed-door scenario evaluated, but dismissed by Tennis Canada
In recent weeks, Tennis Canada has carefully studied the possibility of holding a closed-door Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. Despite the ongoing deconfinement taking place in Ontario, this scenario continues to present several risks and obstacles, including the responsibility to ensure everyone’s health and safety, the complexity of the federal travel law, the financial repercussions and the strain on public health. After careful consideration, Tennis Canada decided that it was preferable to dismiss this idea.
“Organizing a closed-door event is complex and requires certain important health and operational protocols to be put in place,” stated Gavin Ziv, Managing Director of the Rogers Cup in Toronto. “We estimated that to organize and broadcast such a tournament, we would require having up to 450 people on-site. The safety of these people during the two weeks of the event would have been a concern for Tennis Canada and in the current context, the level of risk would have remained high, especially for a sport like tennis where athletes comes from all parts of the world. In addition, at this time, the federal law relating to access to our country and mandatory quarantine would require players to arrive in Canada well before the start of the tournament, which made things much more difficult.”
The financial repercussions were also a great source of concern for Tennis Canada.
“After having already absorbed a loss of $17 Million in 2020, Tennis Canada cannot afford to increase this deficit,” stated Michael Downey, President and CEO of Tennis Canada. “As of today, there is no guarantee that a closed-door tournament would significantly mitigate those losses. Furthermore, knowing that we are unable to hold the women’s edition of the Rogers Cup, this goes against our precious support model for professional men’s and women’s tennis in Canada.”
Tennis Canada’s position regarding the proposal made by the ATP, WTA and USTA
Tennis Canada fully supports the ATP, WTA and USTA’s proposal to create a “hub” in New York to host a preparatory ATP and WTA event as well as the US Open on the same site. The event in Washington will be another opportunity for the players, given its proximity to New York.
Return in 2021
Tennis Canada is now looking to 2021 and is impatiently waiting for the return of world class tennis to Toronto and Montreal in August 2021. And so are the players.
“Our priority in the management of this crisis has always been to ensure the safety of our players, fans, volunteers, partners and employees. We did not take this decision lightly, but we know it has become necessary,” explained Gavin Ziv. “We would like to thank all of our clients and partners for their cooperation and continued support during these difficult times. We would also like to thank the City of Toronto and government authorities in the province of Ontario for their assistance throughout this process. Rest assured that we will be working tirelessly in the coming months to make next year’s event a great celebration during which we will be able to celebrate the sport and enjoy each other’s company.”
“I know that Tennis Canada worked hard and did everything they could to try to make a closed-door event possible, as I personally checked in a few times to see how it was progressing,” said Milos Raonic. “It saddens me to know that I won’t be able to compete in my hometown in August, but I am already looking forward to returning in 2021 and playing in front of a full house in Toronto.”
To our ticketholders
We invite everyone who purchased tickets to keep them, as their tickets will be valid for the tournament held in August 2021. We will contact all ticketholders shortly in order to provide them with more specific details.