Wimbledon winner to visit Rexall Centre for Rogers Cup

Twelve of the world’s top players are on the official entry list for the women’s Rogers Cup presented by American Express tournament to be held Aug.13-21 at the Rexall Centre at York University. Included in this year’s line-up is the American tennis superstar Venus Williams (right). She captured her third Wimbledon title in the space of six years in a final of high drama and record length during the British tournament. She outlasted Lindsay Davenport 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 9-7. Williams has compiled an impressive 31 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour singles titles over her career. Earlier this season the former World No. 1 defeated her sister Serena in the quarterfinals of a Tier 1 event in Miami.

Members of the York community will have a special advantage at this year’s tournament. “York University staff, faculty, students and alumni all get discounts,” said Fady Abdel-Nour, group sales coordinator, Tennis Canada. “They just have to mention that they are part of the ‘YFile group’ when they call or they can use an access code to order online at the Rogers Cup Web site. The Access code is: YFI002-2321563. York staff, faculty, alumni and students get a 30 per cent on bronze seats and 25 per cent off 300-level seats.”

Included in the Toronto line-up are the world’s coveted “gold exempt” players. The Rogers Cup is a Tier 1 tournament and under the improved WTA Tour Player Commitment System, “gold exempt” refers to top players who are contractually obligated to play in Tier I tournaments. In addition to Williams, players who are committed to play in Toronto include three out of the top four players in the world and three former Rogers Cup champions. The complete 56-player main draw entry list for Toronto – along with four wild cards distributed at the discretion of Tennis Canada – will be announced in the weeks preceding the tournament.

“The star power of this field is going to light-up Toronto,” said tournament director Stacey Allaster. “The combination of world-class athleticism and celebrity profile that these women bring to the court makes our tournament this summer’s must-see event.”

Included in this year’s line-up is Maria Sharapova (right), 18, one of the hottest players to invade Toronto this summer. The Russian sensation was awarded the 2004 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Player of the Year Award after rising from No.13 to become the third youngest player in history to win at Wimbledon and winning the year-end tour championships. Of the three Tier 1 events she has played in 2005 she has been a semi-finalist, finalist and winner. A native of Siberia, the 18-year-old has taken both the tennis and celebrity worlds by storm.

Perennial power Serena Williams (left) will look to repeat her winning ways in Toronto this summer. The World No. 4 and 2005 Australian Open champion captured the Canadian title in 2001. Williams, lost her third-round match at Wimbledon two weeks ago to Jill Craybas, ranked 85 in the world, 6-3, 7-6. She is recovering from an injury and hopes to be in top shape for the Rogers Cup.

Roger’s Cup 2003 titlist Justine Henin-Hardenne (right) will look to add another major footprint to her 2005 comeback trail. The Belgian, a former World No. 1, has already won two tournaments this season, proving that she is back on top of her game and ready to compete in Toronto.

Another former World No.1, Kim Clijsters (bottom left), will also be using the Rogers Cup to continue a strong 2005 season that already includes back-to-back Tier 1 victories at Indian Wells and Miami.

Defending champion and World No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo (bottom right) will face a determined field looking to dethrone her. A perennial fan-favourite in Canada, the French star will look for another win on Canadian soil having already won in 2002.

The Gold Exempt Entry List for the 2005 women’s Rogers Cup presented by American Express tennis tournament at the Rexall Centre at York University includes:

  • Maria Sharapova
  • Amelie Mauresmo
  • Serena Williams
  • Anastasia Myskina
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova
  • Vera Zvonareva
  • Venus Williams
  • Elena Bovina
  • Justine Henin-Hardenne
  • Kim Clijsters
  • Ai Sugiyama
  • Mary Pierce

The women’s Rogers Cup, which is presented by American Express, is one of the premier Tier 1 tournaments on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. In 2001, the Rogers Cup was launched with record success and the tournament has drawn record crowds and premier players in both Toronto and Montreal every year.

Last year’s event, held in Montreal, set a new single-week world attendance record for a women’s professional event with 166,442 spectators. Tennis Canada expects a new record to be set this August when the women debut at the Rexall Centre at York University.

The stars will take centre court at the world class Rexall Centre in Toronto,  Aug. 13–21. To purchase tickets call 1-877-2-TENNIS (836647) ext. 4306 and mention theYFile Group or visit the Rogers Cup Web site. Access Code: YFI002-2321563