Welcome to the 2016 Rogers Cup

It's Rogers Cup week this week in my hometown. Really, the 2016 Rogers Cup présentée par Banque Nationale (because yep, the full name of the event includes the main sponsor, welcome to 2016) started in Montreal last weekend and goes until this Sunday.

Today's Friday, which means that the tournament is basically almost over already.

Let's back up.

What is the Rogers Cup?
The Rogers Cup is a tennis tournament and one of the premiere events of the WTA Tour and ATP World Tour. It sits in a group that's just below the four big Grand Slam events (i.e. Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open) in both prestige and importance and, as such, always attracts most of, if not all, the top players in the world.

Wait, I thought it was the men playing.
First off, well, ouch. That would mean you're paying more attention to Toronto than you are to Montreal and ouch. The men were playing at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, but that was a year ago. In 2016, it's the women here in Montreal, and the men in Toronto.

So what are you saying?
I'm saying that the Rogers Cup is a combined men and women tennis tournament that unfolds at once in both Toronto and Montreal, with men and women tennis pros alternating between the two metropolises.

Ah gotcha. But why do that?
Honestly? I don't know, probably because Toronto has the money while Montreal has the caché and the tennis fans?

What do you mean?
A little while ago, back when the Rogers Cup wasn't the Rogers Cup and was named, rather, after a tobacco company, things looked a little more bleak. The Canadian Open didn't have nearly the standing it currently enjoys on the WTA and ATP and, well, there was talk to combine the event into one mega tournament. That never really came to close of coming to fruition, mostly because had it been combined into one then the event would have been held in Montreal.

Ah. Toronto was lagging behind.
Indeed. Toronto's site for the Canadian Open was severely lacking--it still is actually--and my two cents is that this idea was probably only ever floated around to force Toronto to step up and that had it been Montreal with lacking infrastructures, then just maybe today the Rogers Cup would be a combined event...held in Toronto. But Tennis Canada was never leaving Toronto imo.

In my opinion.

Okay okay, BORING. You started out discussing the 2016 Rogers Cup.

So what about it?
For the first time in five years, I'm not spending my week at Stade Uniprix to cover the tournament. I had too much going on, too little time and, you know, life happens. Instead, it's back to what I had been doing before 2012: sitting super close to the court in one of luxury seats my dad purchases for the entire week.

Quite the nice humblebrag there. Nice.
I know, I apologize.

So is the Rogers Cup fun? 
Oh, it's the best. We have pretty great seats and tennis is always fun. Plus, Montrealers really, really love their tennis. The Rogers Cup is typically held in early-to-mid August but has been moved this year to accommodate the behemoth that are the Summer Olympics. This has coincided with a series of withdrawals from top players, names like Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza, but the buzz is still strong in Montreal. If it were Toronto...

Okay okay, enough with the gratuitous shots at TO.
I know, I apologize.

Another name I keep hearing is Eugenie Bouchard.
Ah yes.

Who is she?
There she is.

Is she good?
Sure, she's great. The Canadian former wonder kid now turned simply great player, Eugenie Bouchard took the WTA Tour by storm when she joined the tour for good in 2014.

Oh yeah?
Oh yeah. She's been the best Canadian player in history more or less ever since she's started WTA matches.

Neat. But why do I hear about her for anything but winning matches?
Well, Eugenie Bouchard hasn't been winning as often for about 18 months but it's not just that. She is a native of Montreal. She's beloved because Montreal always loves one of its own. But you'll notice her very French-seeming first name, though it isn't spelled with a "é". It's Eugenie, not Eugénie. Bouchard's parents have named Eugenie and her twin sister Beatrice after two of the Queen's granddaughters.

The Queen?
Yes, the Queen. As in, the Queen of England.

Well okay but who cares?
We're in Montreal. People will care.

Oh. It didn't go well in Montreal?
You bet. Add to that the fact that Eugenie would rather go as Genie, that she doesn't quite speak French perfectly, or good enough in the eyes of some, or whatever, and here we are. Some idiots will bring her down in some idiotic papers, because that's what they do. And they do that, because they know that they strike a nerve in some segments of the Quebec population: if there's one thing we love to do almost more than supporting our own, it's tearing them down for any semblance of weakness or fault.

How's she doing this year at the Rogers Cup?
She's lost. She had a chance to make quite the statement in her hometown, with a depleted draw, but then lost last night inexplicably against the 121-ranked player, Kristina Kucova. Oops.

That's why they play the games.
Shut up.

Originally published in my newsletter.