Since 2005, National Bank and Tennis Canada have been a leading team in the tennis world, partnering on a number of projects both on and off the court, including a WTA level tournament, five Challenger level tournaments and multiple youth programs.
In addition to being the presenting sponsor of the Rogers Cup events in Montreal and Toronto, National Bank is the title sponsor of a WTA International Series event held in Quebec City. In 2018, the National Bank Cup presented by IGA celebrated its 26th anniversary, where a strong delegation of Canadian players were in action. Françoise Abanda reached the second round as did the young 16-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez, who got her first win at a WTA level tournament when she defeated her compatriot Gabriela Dabrowski in the first round. The tournament also saw the return of Rebecca Marino, who was playing in Quebec City for the first time in over six years. She was the lone Canadian to reach the quarter-finals. It is thanks to tournaments like these that our players are able to achieve these significant milestones in their careers.
Challenger tournaments are also an excellent way for rising tennis stars to showcase their talent at the professional level and collect crucial ranking points. Since 2005, National Bank has been the title sponsor of Challenger events held in Quebec: Drummondville, Gatineau, Granby and Saguenay as well as one held in Winnipeg. This year, another tournament was added to the calendar, as Calgary hosted the first edition of their men’s tournament. If 2018 was any indication, the event in Calgary will be a successful one for years to come. Two former Top 20 players took part, as Ivo Karlovic and Tommy Robredo were in action. Karlovic was actually crowned champion of the inaugural tournament. Canadian players benefit greatly from in events disputed on home soil and this year was no exception. Peter Polansky took home the title in Granby while some of our next generation of players earned their very first points on the professional tour. The clear beneficiaries of the time, effort and funding put into these tournaments are our athletes, as they are no longer required to constantly travel to make a career playing tennis.
National Bank also supports multiple youth programs, such as the National Bank Little Aces. Launched in 2007 in Quebec and 2014 in Ontario, the objective of this program is to recruit and develop kids between the ages of 6 and 8 whose physical abilities distinguish them from their peers. The aim is to improve the overall development of these young participants with the goal of retaining them in the competitive stream of tennis. This will lead to a much larger pool of young competitors, ultimately resulting in future Canadian champions. Over the last ten years, more than 2,000 kids have gone through the talent detection process. Together, National Bank and Tennis Canada are working towards making our sport more accessible and making a difference across the country.
*Feature photo: Sarah-Jäde Champagne