Photo: Pascal Ratthé
We are about to close the books on the 2021 tennis season, and it seems like the right time to look back on the past few months and take stock of the exceptional year it has been.
Back in January, who would have thought we would ever be able to make the inaugural edition of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers a success and welcome fans on site, even at limited capacity? That is exactly what we managed to pull off despite the very difficult challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In just a few weeks, our team was able to put together a world-class event at which more than 53,000 people came to see the WTA’s best and brightest in action at IGA Stadium. As we handed the winners’ trophies to Camila Giorgi in singles and our very own Gabriela Dabrowski and her partner Luisa Stefani in doubles, I could barely hide how exceedingly proud I was of our organization.
- Proud of our resilience in the face of all the uncertainty in the pandemic
- Proud of how far we had come since last year’s tournament was cancelled and we lost critical resources to support tennis development in Canada
- Proud of the tireless efforts invested by our team and volunteers to present a tournament of the highest caliber that was not only entertaining but also in compliance with one of the strongest COVID-19 protocols on the tours
- Proud of being the very first international event to be presented in Canada since the start of the health crisis
- And especially proud of getting back in touch with fans and seeing so many of them in attendance despite the unusual circumstances
Of course, the pandemic is not over, and there is still a long way to go before we get back to normal life. Still, there is no denying that we collectively succeeded in getting Canadian tennis back on track. What is more, being an eternal optimist, I am already looking forward to 2022 with positivity and enthusiasm.
The ATP will be making a stop in Montréal for the first time since 2019, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the sport’s elite on our courts at IGA Stadium from August 5 to 14. I know our fans are thrilled to see Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov back in action at home. They both had excellent seasons that included a Grand Slam semifinal for each of them: Denis at Wimbledon and Félix at the US Open.
Of course, we also know that next year’s event is likely one of the last times Federer, Nadal and Djokovic might all be in the mix. The competition is fierce with Medvedev, Zverev, Tsitsipas and others vying for the top spot, and we are witnessing a changing of the guard. Even so, the winners of 60 Grand Slam championships combined haven’t retired yet, and we are looking forward to watching them defend their legacies at IGA Stadium next summer.
Tickets to the National Bank Open went on sale December 8. We are currently planning to fill the stadium and offer activities similar to the ones we hosted before the pandemic. Head over to www.omniumbanquenationale.com to reserve your seats (they make a great holiday gift!).
As for me, I will be joining the Tennis Canada team in Montréal to celebrate all we accomplished this year.
Happy holidays and all the best in 2022!
Director of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers