Rogers Cup Suspension A Financial Nightmare For Canada’s Status As Tennis Powerhouse - UBITENNIS
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Rogers Cup Suspension A Financial Nightmare For Canada’s Status As Tennis Powerhouse

After producing some of the sports most promising tennis players in recent time, Canadian Tennis officials are bracing themselves for a crisis that is likely to include job losses.

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The head of Canadian Tennis has admitted that his organisation will have to reduce their investment into the sport for up to the next three years in the wake of their key moneymaking tournament being suspended.

 

On Saturday it was announced that the WTA Rogers Cup has been suspended until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The local government in Montreal has officially cancelled all events until August 30th in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. There are also fears over the men’s tournament taking place, which is set to be held in Toronto. Although a final decision is yet to be made. Montreal and Toronto take it in turns to host the men’s and women’s tournament.

The decision was one that Tennis Canada would have been extremely reluctant to do. The Rogers Cup generates an astonishing 94% of the money which is used to invest in tennis development within the country. Without that money, there will be a significant impact on the sports rising stars. The setback comes at a time when Canada is establishing themselves as a powerhouse in the world of tennis. Thanks to the success of US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and others.

“We put on these two magnificent tennis tournaments every August in Toronto and Montreal and they generate by far the lion’s share of the profit that we invest in growing the game of tennis coast to coast.” Tennis Canada boss Michael Downey told tsn.ca.
“While we get support from the government from Sport Canada and Own the Podium, and we appreciate that support, it is only six per cent of the investment we put into tennis development. So, there’s no doubt this year is going to be very difficult. We’ve already cut most of the tennis development programming for the balance of the year.” He added.

Should the men’s tournament also get the chop in 2020, Downey estimates the total loss to be ‘north of $10-million.’ Outside of the Rogers Cup, the organisation also receives financial support from Sport Canada and their own investments. Although that only amounts to six per cent. It is this self-sufficiency that has left the organisation at risk.

In a bleak outlook Downey, who was previously head of the Lawn Tennis Association, admits Tennis Canada’s investments could be affected up to 2023. It has been confirmed that staff working at the organisation has been told there will be a restructuring process in the wake of the current situation.

“When you look down the road, because it will be a significant loss this year, into the multi-millions, it won’t just impact what we can invest in tennis development this year, it’s going to impact what we can invest in 2021 and 2022 and maybe even 2023.” He revealed.
“We’ll be able to make an investment, because these tournaments will come back next year stronger than ever, but we won’t be able to afford to invest at the level that we’ve historically been able to because we have to actually get that money back.”

In a bid to prevent the undoing of their progress in recent years, Downey has hinted that he will seek help from the Government in the coming months. Although he didn’t shed light on what that will involve.

“We expect to get more government support down the road. Not right now, because the government is doing what they have to do and that’s focusing on the health and well-being of Canadians and making sure Canadians are employed, but later this year we think there will be an opportunity for us to make a case for greater support, because the sport deserves it and we’ve been self-reliant for decades,’” he explained.

With the men’s Roger Cup tournament in limbo, there is anxiety for those working for Downey and his team. Whilst never directly saying it, a series of redundancies or similar are also expected to be made. It is unclear as to how many or in what departments.

“Like any business, when you have some level of financial turmoil you’ve got to restructure, you got to look to the future and we have to do it like any other business and they understand that. It will be a sad day when we move forward on this, but like any business you got to do this,” Downey concluded.

According to their 2018 Annual Report, 86% of Tennis Canada’s revenue was generated by tennis tournaments alone.

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Novak Djokovic secures win for Serbia in Davis Cup Finals in Innsbruck

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Novak Djokovic eased past Dennis Novak 6-3 6-2 to secure a 2-0 win over Austria in Group F at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in Innsbruck. 

 

Djokovic did not face a break point and won nine of the last eleven games to seal the win after 60 minutes. Djokovic has won his 16th consecutive Davis Cup match. The Serbian player dropped six points on his first serve and never faced any break points. He converted three of his five break points. 

Djokovic earned his first break in the eighth game with an unreturned serve to open up a 5-3 lead and closed out the first set with a hold at 15 in the ninth game after 30 minutes. 

Djokovic went up an early break at the start of the second set and opened up a 3-0 with a double break. Both players held serve in the next five games without facing any break points. Djokovic hit a backhand down the line winner to close out the match, as he was serving for the win at 5-2. 

“It feels great to play for Serbia again. We are part of an individual sport, but I love to play for my country and I try to play when they need me. It has a long year, but you always find extra motivation playing for your country”, said Djokovic. 

Earlier today Dusan Lajovic earned a late break in the third set to battle past Gerald Melzer 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-5 to give Serbia an early 1-0 lead. Lajovic wasted a break point but he came back to convert his fourth match point after 2 hours and 42 minutes. 

Spain beats Ecuador 3-0

Olympic bronze medallist Pablo Carreno Busta battled past Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to seal the win for Spain in Group A at the Caja Magica in Madrid. 

Carreno Busta wasted a 5-2 lead in the third set and two match points at 5-3, but he fought back to win the third-set tie-break 7-5 after 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

“I am very happy because it was a very important victory for the confidence and for the rhythm. In the second and third sets I felt more comfortable than in the first set. I had to continue fighting until the end because he played really well”, said Carreno Busta.  

Earlier on Friday Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez saved all five break point to beat Roberto Quiroz 6-3 6-3. 

“I still have the passion for the game. Without that passion I would not be here. I am 40 years old and have been playing on the Tour for such a long time and it is true without this passion it would not be possible to keep training each day. I have been waiting for moments like this, giving the first point to my country”, said Lopez. 

Carreno Busta and Marcell Granollers battled past Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

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Italy takes a 2-1 win over the USA in the Davis Cup in Turin

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Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner earned Italy a 2-1 win over the USA in the two singles matches in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. 

 

Turin-native player Lorenzo Sonego beat US giant Reilly Opelka 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 31 minutes minutes. Sonego won 90% of his first service points and saved the only break point he faced at 3-3 before earning his first break at deuce in the eighth game after a double fault from Opelka to take a 5-3 lead. The local favourite served it out on his first set point. 

Opelka fended off a break point in the seventh game to hold serve at deuce. Both players went on serve in the next games en route to the tie-break without facing any break points. Sonego earned the decisive mini-break on the first point and held on his serve to win the tie-break 7-4. 

“It was not easy. It was the first time for me competing at the Davis Cup and I am really happy about the match. Thank you everyone”, said Sonego.

Jannik Sinner cruised past John Isner 6-2 6-0 after 1 hour and 2 minutes. Sinner won 9 consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set. Sinner broke twice in the third and seventh games to seal the opening set 6-2. Sinner went up a break in the first game before saving three consecutive break points in the second game. The Italian player earned two more breaks in the third and fifth games to take a bagel win in the second set. Sinner hit 16 winners to just 4 unforced errors. 

“Playing here was very special. Today we have already won. We have a great team and everyone is a great guy as well, so we are just trying to stay together. I am very honoured to be a part of this”, said Sinner. 

Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock edged past Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes.  Fognini and Musetti went up a mini-break to take a 5-4 lead, but Ram and Sock won the final three points to win the tie-break 7-5. In the second set Fognini and Musetti wasted five break points. Ram and Sock earned two breaks in the first and fifth games to close out the second set 6-2. 

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Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert take decisive doubles match win in the Davis Cup

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This year’s Nitto ATP Finals champions Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert came back from one set down to beat Tomas Machac and Jiri Lehecka 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the decisive doubles match sealing a 2-1 win for France over Czech Republic in Group C of the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Innsbruck. 

 

Lehecka and Machac broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-3. Lehecka saved four break points, but they dropped their serve in the 10th game to lose the second set 6-4. Herbert and Mahut converted their second break point to close out the third set 6-3. 

“It was difficult because the Czech team played very well, and we arrived late from Turin. I thought we had a slow start, but in the second and third sets we played well”, said Nicholas Mahut. 

Mahut and Herbert saved four of the five break points and hit five aces to seal the win after 2 hours and five minutes. 

Twenty-one year-old Machac gave an early lead to Czech Republic with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 over French veteran Richard Gasquet on his Davis Cup debut in the opening singles match. 

Machac came back from a break down and broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. The Czech player earned four mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. Gasquet saved four break points in the first game of the second set, but Machac broke serve twice to win the second set 6-2. 

“It feels really good. I am so happy I played today and won today for Czech Republic. It was a really tough match from the beginning, mentally especially. I am really happy. In the tie-break I played really well without any mistakes. That was the crucial moment”, said Machac. 

Adrian Mannarino came back from one set down to beat Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-2 after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Mannarino won 77% of his first serve points. Vesely came back from 2-5 down in the first set to win the win the tie-break 7-1. Mannarino earned a break at love in the third game to win the second set 6-2. Vesely saved four break points in the first game of the third set. Mannarino broke twice in the third and fifth games to seal the third set 6-2. 

“I was trying my best to keep fighting. I served very well in the key moments, which helps. I got used to the speed of his serve He was serving very fast and at beginning it was tough. On his second serve at the end, I was putting a lot of pressure on it”, said Mannarino. 

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