It’s that time of the year again! Rogers Cup Presented by National Bank is fast approaching. In a month (July 23-31) the best tennis players in the world descend on Montreal and Toronto. While there are many incredible storylines leading into the tournament (many include our own Canadians), I thought I’d focus this week’s blog purely on the fan experience of attending the tournament.
Nearly every year for the past 11 years, I’ve had the opportunity to experience Rogers Cup (mostly in Toronto but occasionally in Montreal). For a tennis fan like me, it’s one of my favourite weeks of the entire year! In order to make sure you get the most out of this year’s tournament, I’ve put together a list of things to remember before attending Rogers Cup:
As a tennis player, I prefer to sit directly behind the players. Why? It’s much easier to see the tactics develop on the tennis court, and you get a better appreciation of the difficulty of the service return. I also like to pretend I’m the player on court and imagine how I’d play someone like Roger Federer or Serena Williams. Finally (and most importantly), you won’t be forced to turn your neck left to right continually. In all fairness, both Aviva Centre and STADE IGA have great sight lines, and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
If you plan on sitting in the sun all day, then I cannot stress this enough – DRINK WATER! Late July is an incredibly hot time of the year in both cities. Just as you would when playing tennis, water will keep your mind and body focused on the matches. Remember, if you’re thirsty at any point during the day – you aren’t drinking nearly enough!
If you only choose to watch matches on the main centre court, you’re really missing out on great matches taking place on the side courts. You can easily see top-ranked players up close, especially in the early rounds. While you’re likely not going to see the top seeds like Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic on court 3 or 4 (unless they are playing doubles or practicing), you have a great opportunity to see a Top 10 player only a couple of feet away from you. I remember watching Andy Murray eight years ago on Court 2 at Uniprix and marveling at how consistent his backhand slices were! Any ticket to Rogers Cup will allow you to see matches on these courts. Remember to turn off your phone as well…
Getting to the courts in Montreal is incredibly easy via subway. You can either go to De Castelnau station for a five-minute walk to Uniprix, or Jarry station for a 20-minute walk. Those with mobility issues in Montreal should consider getting a ride or driving due to the limited accessibility of the Montreal subway system. Make sure you call ahead to confirm parking arrangements (514-273-1515).
Going to Aviva Centre at York University takes a bit more planning. For many, driving will be the easiest option, although TTC has bus service to York from Downsview Station. Remember that York is a huge campus with multiple entrances and exits. You’ll want to head over to RogersCup.com for more detailed parking instructions for the Toronto tournament. Shuttle buses are available continually to take you to your car easily. Accessible parking is also readily available directly across from Aviva Centre.
My best advice? Wear your dry-fit tennis gear, preferably with light colours. Spending an entire day on-site at Rogers Cup will definitely cause an excess of heat and sweat. Also bring hats, sunglasses, and most importantly – sunscreen. Some of the worst sunburns I’ve ever experienced have been as a spectator at Rogers Cup. I’d also wear comfortable shoes, as you might do quite a bit of walking from court to court.
Incredibly, Rogers Cup (formerly the Canadian Open) has been running for 135 years. Each year brings something completely different. I encourage everyone to cheer on our Canadian talent at the 2016 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank!