Photo : Tennis Canada
Just like National Bank Open champion Pablo Carreno Busta and Félix Auger-Aliassime (with the exception of his last match), you had a pretty great week.
And so did Tennis Canada builders Richard Legendre and Eugène Lapierre.
“You almost have to pinch yourself,” said Legendre, who returned to the event as an analyst for TVA Sports.
Félix packed IGA Stadium three times and carried the tournament after the top three seeds had dispersed.
The attendance record represents the completion of another step in Tennis Canada’s excellence plan and, more importantly, yet another milestone in the federation’s development philosophy.
“The aim of the tournament has always been to generate the revenue needed to reinvest in training our talents from Québec and Canada,” he added.
That philosophy is what gave us the National Tennis Centre in Montréal, as well as the results we’re familiar with, which are happily still rolling in.
After Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil, here are Félix, No.9 at just 22 years old, US Open champion Bianca Andreescu and US Open finalist Leylah Annie Fernandez.
The question now isn’t whether there will be a sequel. “Félix has come full circle, filling the stands every time thanks to his brilliant tennis,” affirmed Legendre. “This week was not only Félix’s week, but the week of a tournament that will be remembered for a long time.”
Above and beyond
Just as amazing as Félix were the tennis fans.
Tennis Canada VP and tournament director Eugène Lapierre confirmed it at his wrap-up press conference.
Despite the challenges brought about by the weather at the start of the week and the early departures of the top seeds, the tournament set not one but two attendance records.
The total of 237,158 spectators surpassed the numbers for the 2019 National Bank Open presented by Rogers. That’s a record for Montréal and for the ATP and WTA for a week-long event.
“Despite the complications, we were able to play all the matches,” Lapierre said.
As for the big names decamping, that’s something Eugène Lapierre can live with: “I’m happy to see new faces.”
He ended with a very special message.
“Thank you to our 1,400 volunteers and to the people of Montréal and Québec, because you created this success.”
Heard around the courts
- Good news for our friends in Granby: after defeating World No.1 Iga Swiatek and reaching the final in Toronto, Beatriz Haddad Maia is now No.16 in the WTA rankings. The Brazilian will be the top seed at the National Bank Championships at the end of the month.
- Bianca Andreescu withdrew from Cincinnati due to injury.
- Quote of the month: “Please don’t wake me up!” asked Pablo Carreno Busta after raising his first Masters 1000 winner’s trophy.
See you next year
Mark your calendars: the WTA returns to Montréal from August 5 to 13, 2023. Simona Halep should be on the hunt for a hat trick after her triumphs here in 2016 and 2018.