Photo: Sarah-Jäde Champagne

When the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was announced back in March – with qualifying set to start the following day – the whole tennis world was put on pause and there was total sense of uncertainty about what was in store for the rest of the 2020 season.

Since then, tournaments have continued to be cancelled and doubt loom over the remainder of the seasons. Different organizing groups and national federations have seen opportunities to organize tennis tournaments, some even proposing formulas attempting to modernize our sport to levels never seen before. And then, there was a glimmer of hope: tennis authorities finally announced, on June 17, the return of professional tennis in August. While encouraging, their proposal for a condensed schedule has yielded significant flaws for many players. Those players ranked outside of the Top 125, for example, as well as those still playing on the junior circuit, are still awaiting opportunities to play.

These players are, for the most part, the first to suffer financially from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic – and they are still waiting to find out when they will be able to compete again and play the sport they love.

Photo: Pascal Ratthé

To help Canadian players who find themselves in this situation, Tennis Canada has set up a competitive league that allows 15 male players and eight female players from Montreal and the surrounding area to play high-level competitive matches. This group is made up of junior players, transitional players and players who play on the NCAA circuit. The men’s league got underway on June 15, while the women’s league started on June 22. The final rounds, which will bring together the top eight male players and the top four female players, will be played the week of July 27 and August 13, respectively.

All matches are being played at IGA Stadium in Montreal.

List of male players

Alexis Galarneau
Nicaise Muamba
Gabriel Diallo
Dan Martin
Kamen Damov
Alexandre Leblanc
Taha Baadi
Juan Carlos Aguilar
Jaden Weekes
Stefan Simeunovic
Christophe Clément
Sid Donarski
Razvan Baiant
Washi Gervais
Nicolas Ocana-Lavoie

List of female players

Mélodie Collard
Anabelle Xu
Raphaëlle Lacasse
Sarah-Maude Fortin
Noelly Nsimba
Anne-Sophie Courteau
Catherine Slowek
Mia Kupres

The rules:

  • Round robin format;
  • For each match, three sets must be played. The third set is a decisive tiebreak of ten points;
  • Matches are played without advantages (decisive point at deuce);
  • Players earn one point pet set won (the three sets must be completed);
  • The top players in the rankings will move on to the final rounds. More details to come.

Several measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all participants. For example, players are required to complete a health questionnaire before each of their matches. In addition, their temperature is taken upon arrival at the Stadium and they cannot be accompanied by a coach, family member or anyone else.

Over the next few weeks, we will update you on the results and highlights from this league as participants compete for a spot in the final rounds.

Here are the rankings as of July 3:

Men’s League Rankings

 RankingMatches playedPlayersPoints
17Alexis Galarneau18
27Kamen Damov17
38Gabriel Diallo17
47Nicaise Muamba14
55Nicolas Ocana-Lavoie12
66Taha Baadi11
77Dan Martin10
86Sid Donarski10
94Juan Carlos Aguilar10
106Jaden Weekes9
117Alexandre Leblanc9
127Washi Gervais9
137Christophe Clément6
146Razvan Baiant4
153Stefan Simeunovic0

Women’s League Rankings

 RankingMatches playedPlayersPoints
12Sarah-Maude Fortin5
22Mélodie Collard5
32Raphaëlle Lacasse4
42Annabelle Xu3
51Mia Kupres2
62Catherine Slowek1
72Anne-Sophie Courteau1
8 1Noelly Nsimba0