The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Karl’s Court: Barty Party and clay-court season highlights

June 11, 2019

After an exciting start to the season, highlighted by Bianca Andreescu’s run during the “Sunshine Swing”, we were once again treated to some phenomenal tennis during this clay-court season.

Watching Australia’s Ash Barty has been nothing short of inspiring. About three years ago, Ash made her return to tennis after taking a two-year break to play professional cricket. If my memory serves me right, she was ranked somewhere outside the top 600 when she returned. Now, she’s a Grand Slam champion and ranked a career-best No. 2.

It’s a remarkable story, and I can’t help but remember seeing signs of her rise at last year’s Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal. Ash had a wonderful tournament – winning the doubles’ title with partner Demi Schuurs, after losing in the semis to the eventual singles’ champion Simona Halep.

With nine of the top-10 players on the WTA Tour confirmed for this year’s Rogers Cup, there’ll be no shortage of star power in Toronto. We’ve got a stellar field that features 10 current and former World No. 1’s – including Serena, Venus, Sharapova and Osaka! It’s got me wondering: who will be the one to prevail in Toronto? Might it be Ash? Might it be Serena? Or could it be Bianca?

Photo: Mauricio Paiz

Our Canadian teenage sensation is back and getting healthy! It was so great to see Bianca playing competitive tennis at Roland-Garros. She definitely showed signs of that same form that won her a title at Indian Wells. I know how excited Bianca is to play Rogers Cup in August and to be a direct entry into her home tournament for the first time ever!

Eugenie Bouchard is also excited to get back to Canada! Playing in her first competitive match in months, Genie received a massive amount of support from the Parisien crowd at the French Open. She’s now training for the grass-court season and looking forward to the home-court advantage she’ll have in Toronto with her Canadian fans behind her!

My trip to the All England Club is always something I look forward to. As it has become customary, I will be attending our Canada Day party at Wimbledon with Daniel Nestor. And I’m sure the newest member of our Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame will be keeping a close-eye on fellow Canadian and doubles’ specialist Gabriela Dabrowski.

Photo: Julien Crosnier / FFT

Gaby has already had a solid start to her season. She’s rounding into form ahead of Wimbledon, where she was a semi-finalist in women’s doubles with her partner Yifan Xu. I’m eager to see what she can accomplish over the coming months. I know for a fact that, this summer, she’ll be looking to add a Rogers Cup title to her impressive trophy case!

And what might we see from our rising star, Leylah Annie Fernandez? She made history by becoming the first-ever Canadian to win a Junior Grand Slam title at Roland-Garros. Might she make a run in Toronto?

It’s impossible not to be excited by what our players north of the border could do this summer at Rogers Cup. But, for the time being, let’s hope they can continue to achieve new heights over this grass-court season.

Until next time,