The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Mario Brisebois: Indian Wells or Playing for Peace

March 10, 2022
View of crowd and doubles team at Indian Wells

Photo

Tennis’ governing bodies have spoken with a single voice in their unified stance in support of Ukraine. It’s a rare occurrence that merits our attention.

The International Tennis Federation, Grand Slam tournaments, ATP and WTA joined forces to launch the Tennis Plays for Peace initiative.

The aim is to support humanitarian relief efforts. The WTA, ATP, ITF and Slams have pledged a joint charitable donation of $700,000.

Among the other gestures of solidarity are the blue and yellow ribbons that will be distributed to players to wear at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.  

The pros are also invited to add #TennisPlaysforPeace to their social and digital platforms.

Looks like Elina Svitolina’s idea caught on.

More efforts are planned at the event in Miami two weeks later and at all subsequent tournaments for as long as necessary.

ANDY MURRAY TAKES ACTION

Former World No.1 Andy Murray has pledged to donate his 2022 prize money to help children in Ukraine.

“Over 7.5 million children are at risk with the escalating conflict in Ukraine, so I’m working with UNICEF UK to help provide urgent medical supplies and early childhood development kits,” he tweeted.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV TOES THE LINE

The ATP was very, very clear: players from Russia and Belarus can only play under a neutral banner.

How does the newly minted World No.1 Daniil Medvedev feel about that? “At the moment, the only way to continue is to play without a flag, and I will follow this rule. But I hope this measure will be temporary,” he told RIA Novosti—a Russian state-owned news agency.

To keep his seat at the top, Medvedev must play his way into at least the quarters in Indian Wells.

A ROOF FOR CLUB DE TENNIS FRANÇOIS-GODBOUT

Excellent news for Club de tennis François-Godbout in Waterloo, which was selected among the first communities to receive funding to develop fully covered tennis courts through Tennis Canada’s new Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers. The courts will soon be covered with air-supported bubbles for all-season play.

The municipalities of Hamilton (Ancaster), Markham and Calgary were also chosen. Tennis Canada plans to cover more courts in the future, so keep an eye out!

Group of people involved in tennis holding shovels and tennis rackets outside in the snow
Photo : Sarah-Jade Champagne

FÉLIX IN THE FINAL?  

In the tennis world, we’re not alone in thinking Félix Auger-Aliassime will go far.

In its analysis ahead of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Tennis.com pegged Félix as a finalist. 

According to the crystal ball, he will oust World No.3 Alexander Zverev in the quarters and then Hubert Hurkacz, who holds the title in Miami, in the semis.

And in the final? Auger-Aliassime vs. Medvedev.

There was no prophecy as far as who’d raise the winner’s trophy.

POP QUIZ 

By fighting off five match points to claim the title in Monterrey, Mexico, last week, Leylah Fernandez became the first Canadian player to win the same title two years running since who?

REBECCA ON A ROLL 

In addition to congratulating Leylah, let’s applaud Rebecca Marino, who won the ITF/USTA Challenger title in Arcadia, California, without dropping a single set.

She’s been on a roll since her final and semi appearances in Cancún. She’s now No.123 and on her way back to the Mexican vacation destination for another tournament this week.

FOR SALE

The USTA, which owns a chunk of the Western and Southern Open (aka the Cincinnati Masters that follows the National Bank Open), has put its ATP Tour tournament sanction up for sale.

ANSWER 

Milos Raonic, who won the title in San Jose in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  

BETWEEN THE LINES

How about a tennis reunion? Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl are back on the courts together for the third time.

With Ashleigh Barty and Barbora Krejcikova out of Indian Wells, the women’s field is wide open. “Name another sport that would not protect its officials who have been physically attacked and intimidated by a competitor by serving a probation vs. a suspension. What am I missing?” tweeted Pam Shriver in response to the probation handed to Alexander Zverev after he repeatedly struck the umpire’s chair stand after a loss.

HOW OLD IS HE, ANYWAY?

“Rafael Nadal is closer to 16 than 36 years old, emotionally. That’s where he separates himself from the other Big 3,” said Mats Wilander to Eurosport when asked about the King of Clay’s 15-0 record and hat trick, including the AO, this season.

Nadal bites the Australian Open trophy in 2022
Photo : Martin Sidorjak/Tennis Canada
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