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.

Grand Slam

Australian Open Chief Confident Event Will Take Place In January Amid COVID-19 Jump In Region

Craig Tiley has addressed concerns about the Grand Slam following a new outbreak in Victoria.

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The tournament director of the Australian Open has insisted that plans for next year’s tournament are on track despite a spike in COVID-19 cases around Melbourne.

 

Craig Tiley has stated that the Grand Slam will only take place in the city and there are no backup plans to potentially relocate the event in a worst case scenario. The Australian Open is held annually at Melbourne Park and this year attracted a record attendance of 812,174 people. Although there are concerns about the threat posed by COVID-19 with the Victoria State Government reporting another 66 cases of the virus on Friday. Making it the 17th day the daily infection rate has been in double digits. It is possible that the number could be higher with health minister Jenny Mikakos confirming around 10,000 people have refused to be tested with some claiming the virus to be a ‘conspiracy theory.’

According to ABC News Tiley and his team are planning for six scenarios concerning the Australian Open taking place, including the possibility of holding it behind closed doors. Although he is optimistic that the event and others also set to take place next January will go ahead as planned.

“Nothing has changed for us in terms of our planning,” Tiley told AAP.
“The environment around us has changed, and will continue to change, as we’ve seen with the current spike in Victoria.
“We’re optimistic the additional measures currently in place will be successful — and restrictions will continue to be eased over the coming months.”

The Tournament director has also confirmed that there will be little flexibility concerning the staging of next year’s event. Saying it will only take place in Melbourne and during January if it goes ahead. Although he is keeping a close eye on the two Grand Slams that are set to take place later this season.

“The US Open and the French Open are exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limiting entourages,” he said.
“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.
“It’s difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week, and sometimes even day by day.”

This year’s US Open is set to get underway on August 31st, but will be held behind closed doors for the first time. Meanwhile the French Open, which starts only weeks after the New York major, plans to allow up to 20,000 fans to attend daily. Working out to be roughly 60% of its maximum capacity.

The last time the Australian Open didn’t take place was in 1986 due to a change in its hosting date from December to January. Founded in 1905, it is the youngest out of the four grand slam tournaments.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas recalls his first training session with Roger Federer

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Stefanos Tsitsipas became the youngest ATP Finals champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and the fifth youngest player in the 50-year history of the year-end tournament. Tsitsipas fended off 11 of the 12 break points against Roger Federer in the ATP Finals semifinals and 12 of the 12 break points he faced against the Swiss Maestro in the fourth round of the Australian Open before losing to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. During 2019 Federer beat Tsitsipas in two finals in Dubai and Basel. Tsitsipas recalled his first training session with Federer.

 

“First time it was like unbelievable. I thought I was dreaming, honestly. As more you play with him, the more normal it seems but at the same time it can’t seem normal because it’s Roger Federer, it’s not any other player”, said Tsitsipas.

When Indian Wells was cancelled due to the pandemic, Tsitispas was never going to wait for the Tour to resume. As there was uncertainty about the Miami Open, he could not return to Greece. He made a short road trip to visit a group called “Yes Fam”, whose goal is to spread a philosophy of positivity. Tsitsipas talked about what he learnt from Federer.

“Expressing myself more. I spent a lot of time with him during the Laver Cup in September and I learned a lot of things from him. Even the way you carry yourself, the way you speak, the way you think you can pass this to someone else. I felt really inspired”, recalled Tsitsipas.

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ATP

‘Coronabros Stay In Your Basement’ – John Isner Plays Down Concerns Over COVID-19 Threat

The world No.21 believes players have to ‘learn and adapt’ to the virus.

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America’s top tennis player have said the world ‘can’t come to a complete standstill’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic as he hit back at criticism concerning an upcoming exhibition tournament he is participating in.

 

John Isner weighed in on the debate following a comment from freelance writer Ben Rothenberg whom on Twitter voiced concerns that Atlanta and West Virginia is staging tennis events with crowds despite a rise in cases. The world No.21 is set to play in the DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, which will feature the eight top male players in the country. Officials plan to allow 450 people to attend the event on each day, which is estimated to be around 30% of the stadium’s maximum capacity.

“Ben, your concerns are valid, but, as someone who covers our sport for a living it would be nice if you would be supportive of WTT and Atlanta with their efforts to put on safe events instead of posting spooky headlines like this one that are factually incorrect,” Isner said making reference to an article Rothenberg posted.

Other Twitter users have also questioned the decision to allow fans to attend the event. Georgia, which is the state Atlanta is in, officially reported 2946 daily cases of the virus on July 1st. The highest amount within 24 hours since the pandemic began. Furthermore, Reuters News Agency reports that there was a record rise of more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday in America.

Nevertheless, Isner has dismissed calls for the event to be held behind closed doors or even cancelled. Branding his online critics as ‘coronabros’ before saying he wants to go on and live his life.

“You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner,” he said.

Unsurprisingly Isner has now been accused of downplaying the severity of the virus, which has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide. Including 130,000 in his home country alone. Challenged by one Twitter user who said she lost a family member due to the virus, Isner replied:-

“I’m incredibly sorry to hear that. I, in no way, was downplaying the effect of the virus, but I understand that perception can be reality.”

It is not fully understood by what he means with the phrase ‘perception is a reality’. Although he did like one tweet which said ‘the virus is much less lethal than the first models predicted. It’s now close to the flu.’ Although some medical experts have a differnt view on the perspective. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently said the virus is “very different” from other outbreaks such as Ebola and HIV.

“We may not have a vaccine for a while and the world can’t come to a complete standstill. The reality is, we are going to have to learn and adapt to this virus in the safest manner possible,” he says.

The DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta will take place this weekend.

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