York University the site of world-class tennis and rock

What’s that racquet? Stars of the sports and rock worlds will make some beautiful noise next weekend at the Rexall Centre, located at York’s Keele campus. The best women tennis players in the world are coming to the Tennis Canada facility Aug. 13-21 for the 2005 Rogers Cup tennis tournament. The tournament will kick off with an exclusive sponsored rock concert on Friday, Aug. 12.

Wimbledon stars and a who’s who of women’s tennis highlight the list of 56 players entered in the Rogers Cup, presented by American Express. Heading the competition for the US$1.3-million purse are world No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova, 2005 Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, her sister Serena Williams and tournament defending champion Amélie Mauresmo.

Right: Maria Sharapova

According to Tennis Canada, the organizing body for the tournament, 17 of the top 20 women players on the Sony Ericsson Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour will play at this year’s tournament.

Rounding out the tournament’s top players are three principals of the WTA’s “Russian Revolution” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Anastasia Myskina.  Fan favourites Justine Henin-Hardenne (2003 Rogers Cup champion), Kim Clijsters and French Open finalist Mary Pierce will also battle for the first time on the hard courts of the Rexall Centre at this key event, one of the last before the grand-slam US Open.

“The Rogers Cup is a true showcase of the international stars of women’s tennis,” said Stacey Allaster, vice-president of Tennis Canada and tournament director. “Our field for 2005 offers a mix of athletic young superstars, dynamic celebrity personalities and intense rivalries – this is definitely the who’s who of women’s tennis and a ‘must see’ event this summer in Toronto.”

Maria Sharapova will be 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. A native of Siberia, the 18-year-old has taken both the tennis and celebrity worlds by storm.

The latest Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams, is also committed to play in the tournament. The senior Williams has compiled an impressive 32 WTA Tour singles titles over her career.

Right: Venus Williams

Perennial power Serena Williams will look to repeat her winning ways in Toronto this summer. Williams is ranked No. 7 in the world and is the 2005 Australian Open champion. She captured the Canadian title in 2001.

Defending champion and No. 3 in the world, Amélie Mauresmo will face a determined field looking to dethrone her. A perennial fan-favourite in Canada, the French star will look to make it three titles in the last four years on Canadian soil (having also won in 2002).

Fellow Rogers Cup titlist Justine Henin-Hardenne will look to add another major footprint to her 2005 comeback trail. The Belgian, a former No. 1 player in the world, is back on top of her game after winning the 2005 French Open and is ready to compete in Toronto.

Another former world No. 1 player, Kim Clijsters, will also be using the Rogers Cup to continue a strong season that includes back to back Tier 1 victories at Indian Wells and Miami.

Right: Kim Clijsters

The tournament debuts with an exclusive rock concert presented by Rogers Communications Inc., title sponsor of the tournament, and Sony Ericsson, global sponsor of the WTA Tour. The Rogers Rocks Tennis concert features top Canadian artists Finger Eleven, Sloan and David Usher and special guests Mobile. The concert warms up the tennis venue on Friday, Aug. 12, and is exclusive to Rogers’ customers and their friends. It begins at 6:30pm in the main stadium at the Rexall Centre. (Any Rogers Wireless customer who activates a Sony Ericsson phone by Aug. 10 will receive four free tickets to the concert. Rogers Wireless is also holding a contest for tickets.)

Left: David Usher

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 discount on bronze session tickets (100-level) and 25 per cent off 300-level session tickets.”