Support wears thin for WTA in Canada - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Five out of top-6 players have entered the tournament. Still...

http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/247749

Quote:
T.O. support wears thin for WTA
Aug 19, 2007
Damien Cox

One can only hope the women's tennis tour is paying attention.

The profile of the Rogers Cup has been badly damaged by a variety of factors, from pre-tournament withdrawals to curious in-match retirements to an overall absence of high-level tennis.

But nobody, at least outside of Tennis Canada, expected what happened yesterday. The audiences for the two semifinal matches, one in the early afternoon featuring the world's top player, Justine Henin, and one later in the evening, managed to fill slightly more than half the 13,000-seat capacity of the Rexall Centre.

It was a sobering turnout for the key matches of what is supposed to be one of the top dozen events on the women's tennis calendar. But tennis fans in Toronto are apparently responding to the product being offered by largely staying away. Sponsors could soon follow.

A "legends" night last Monday featuring John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova drew very disappointing numbers. Even today's enormously appealing final between Henin and talented Jelena Jankovic of Serbia isn't yet sold out, with about 2,000 tickets still available.

It would appear that years of being treated in rather cavalier fashion by the stars of the women's game has finally caught up to the Toronto tour stop, which hosts the females every other year. Consistently, top WTA players have either failed to show up in Toronto for the tournament or pulled out at the last moment, which again happened this year when Amelie Mauresmo, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Martina Hingis and Maria Sharapova all declined to take part and left the draw short on glamour and depth.

Yesterday, Henin easily rolled over little-known qualifier Yan Zi of China in a dullish matinee before a crowd that was surprisingly thin on a gorgeous breezy afternoon. The evening turnout was slightly better for the see-saw contest between Jankovic and Tatiana Golovin of France, which turned out to be a very good, tense match.

Trailing 5-2 in the first set, Golovin stunned the more highly-regarded Jankovic by winning five straight games to jump ahead in the match.

Jankovic, whose biting groundstrokes overshadow her powder-puff serve, rallied to capture the final two sets, although both were hotly contested in what probably was the best match of the tournament outside of those with Canadian (Stephanie Dubois) content.

But the fact the rollercoaster Jankovic-Golovin clash didn't come until the last evening session of the tourney helped produce a negative atmosphere that apparently convinced thousands not to drive up to the York University campus and buy tickets while, at the same time, the men's event in Cincinnati was drawing large crowds.

Despite mostly blessed weather remember those awful years tarnished by rain? the product has been weak and filled with players dropping out to injuries or illness, all of which has been particularly noticeable coming on the heels of the dramatic men's event in Montreal. The overall attendance figures this week have been solid, but clearly most of those fans apparently chose to buy cheaper grounds passes rather than more expensive tickets to the main stadium.

This is clearly now an ailing tournament that has to hope the changes the WTA has planned for 2009 more time off for top players, fewer events, discipline for withdrawals will revive interest in Toronto.

It's not just this tourney, however. As the women's event starts to eye Asia, and specifically China, more aggressively, some North American markets, like San Diego, are dropping out entirely.

Today's Henin-Jankovic final has the potential to be a terrific conclusion to this competition. But even that won't hide worrisome trends in the business of women's tennis.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

The Canadian open has lost out badly in capturing key players in recent years. Abolishing quality points hasn't helped them as it should.

They need to get their act together. Perhaps the ending of San Diego will help, by cutting out one of the California events.

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Don't know why everybody seems to be picking on Canada all of a sudden.
WTA events have been very poorly attended in the big arenas in The States and Europe all year. The attendances for the China Open last year even with local players in action was pathetic. Not just WTA: plenty of empty seats in Cinnanati this week to: Federer v Hewitt yesterday the place was half empty.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dersu Uzala View Post
Don't know why everybody seems to be picking on Canada all of a sudden.
WTA events have been very poorly attended in the big arenas in The States and Europe all year. The attendances for the China Open last year even with local players in action was pathetic. Not just WTA: plenty of empty seats in Cinnanati this week to: Federer v Hewitt yesterday the place was half empty.
Top 10 players will have to commit to only 10 premium
events from 2009 on, with 8 of them being mandatory,
or 9 for those who qualify for YEC. This could be the
last time non-mandatory Rogers Cup will see six out
of top-10 players, so it's bound to get even worse.
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 01:03 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by predrag View Post
Top 10 players will have to commit to only 10 premium
events from 2009 on, with 8 of them being mandatory,
or 9 for those who qualify for YEC. This could be the
last time non-mandatory Rogers Cup will see six out
of top-10 players, so it's bound to get even worse.
are these premium events going to be like the masters series-if they offer as much money and points as the masters series give then im sure the top players would turn up. $400,000 is a lot more than $189,000 im sure its worth the airfare to canada!
personally, i think the tour should communicate with the players and really find out why they tend to miss the same events every year-the length of the season isnt the reason why no one ever goes to canada or charleston or san diego. maybe the players just dont like the way the tourny is run-maybe larry scott should get to the root of the problem rather then just making them mandatory-which wont make a difference, players will just pull out and piss of the fans, again!
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

well you cant blame people for passing on going to watch as there isn't the star names in the draw the winds been aweful! though i agree with the post futher up i've watched a few of the mens matches from cincy and in the early rounds the stadium was empty and even with federer its still not full so the writer of this article is talking shit there!

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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

its not only that. who the hell pays for a ticket just to get to see one singles semi and then sticks around for hours and hours just to pay for another ticket to watch the second ? thats ridiculous ! ! !

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Well I was there from Sat-Wed, and I can tell you that the Pelletier-Shulaeva match was only 1/4 full Some bad scheduling, as that match should not have been the second night match.

I went to the Anna Kournikova match, and I think that the tickets were sold, but most people left after watching an excellent but longer-than-expected duel between Pin and Safina, and then freezing through a pretty long match between Courier and McEnroe. So understandly, most people left during the second match as it was approaching midnight and it was freezing!

However, over all, I think Toronto's event sells enough tickets to continue but not enough people actually show up. Secondly, coming from a Torontonian who has gone to the Rogers Cup in Montreal, I can tell you that Toronto has a lot of work to do in terms of making it's event more exciting and interesting and as good as an atmosphere as Montreal's. The grounds need to be made more fan-friendly like they are in Montreal (where apparently security is still a priority as Toronto was the only one told to improve on that - hence the new stadium). I think if Toronto does this, then it can improve its ticket sales and attendance. But definitely the withdrawals play a factor, and the WTA needs to address that, which it has and we will see how big of an impact their new rules have on the women's game.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 02:29 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Give it to the Arabs, where there's no tennis fans but some rich sheikhs that can get a lil horny by watching women in short skirts

Money talks, right, WTA? No tradition, no nothing. Only money.

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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

It's not the "Canadian" Open it's Toronto...Last year in Montreal it was full for the girls even if there were many withdrawals... Toronto the tickets are way too costly for one and they don't realize they have the #1 and #3 player in the World in the final...Well maybe today it will be full... They are so dumb in Toronto they probable think Hingis is still a threat in woman tennis... It was 100% full for Federer-Hewitt yesterday watch correctly. The good thing is here in Montreal we have been waiting for years to have both the men and the women and with the ignorance of Toronto we might get it sooner rather than later. But still today they have world #1 vs. world #3...
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

I think this is a mandatory tournament stating in 2009.
And today's final is the best final since Miami.
The RG and Wimbledon finals had pretenders. All 3 California tournaments were much worse.
This final has the true #1 and a very solid top 5 contender.

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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Well, the big names aren't there, the wind is out of control.

I think it's going to be the only Tier I of the summer next year, so it should have a better field.
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

This roadmap thing is confusing to me. Is it primarily just eight mandatory tournaments? That'd be eight TI-esque tourneys + the slams...right?

Regardless, this has been such an esteemed and prestigious event in the past, I hope it picks up in the future.
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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

Top 5 Contender ??? Jankovic is #3 in the world and soon will be #2 and maybe #1. "big names"?????? The #1 #3 #4 #5 #6 player in the world are there. Only missing was Sharapova... The rest (serena-venus)they only play grand slams and well if you talk about Hingis.. she would have been beaten on the monday night so...Toronto is bad here we had 10 000+ for the final on the monday afternoon because of rain with Ivanovic winning... Today Jankovic will win and become #2 in the world.
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2007, 05:04 PM
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Re: Support wears thin for WTA in Canada

The WTA is simply not marketing their players enough, this has long been a problem and it's only getting worse. They've relied too much on the same players for the past near 10 years and haven't done enough to bring attention to newer players. So when the players they rely on don't turn up, the tournaments are left scrambling to try and suddenly bring the leftovers to the forefront and it's too little too late really. For real tennis fans, we know the likes of Jankovic, Ivanovic, and many more, but to the average viewer, they may have heard of the name, but they aren't familiarized with them enough to often be bothered with paying to see them.

I do think the elimination of San Diego will be a help to Toronto, but another summer Olympics is coming up next time, and with the event squeezed in between that and the US Open, it's still going to be tough to avoid the withdrawals. Players just don't want to risk further injury if they have any kind of ailments so close to the US Open.

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