No Bouchard, no power—no problem for attendance at Montreal

Thursday, August 07, 2014 /by
Montreal will break its attendance record this week, say tournament organizers. (AP Photo)
Montreal will break its attendance record this week, say tournament organizers. (AP Photo)

The WTA Rogers Cup in Montreal is expected to break attendance records despite some unexpected challenges during the first few days.

Local favorite Eugenie Bouchard, who has been driving ticket sales with her ascent into the Top 10, fell in her opening match on Tuesday, and the tournament experienced power outages on Tuesday and Wednesday along with a few rain delays.

"We expected today would be an historic day... It will be an historic day, but not for the good reasons," observed tournament director Eugene Lapierre.

But he reported that the 20-year-old Canadian, along with a field that has eight of the Top 10, had already lifted the tournament to new heights.

"As for the tournament, it's already a major success this year, thanks to the vibes she brought to the tournament and all the fantastic results she had before the tournament," he said. "We have already broke the record of 175,000 spectators for the week. So now it will be up to the other great world players to make the show."

Even without Bouchard, the traditionally well-attended event in Montreal is expected to pull crowds.

"Financially we have already hit our target actually yesterday," he said. "Sharapova, the Williams sisters, Ivanovic, Azarenka, they're not only good tennis players, they're entertaining tennis players. I think the fans will have a good show for the rest of the week."

The men's tournament is also seeing the effect of Canadian success on the tour this season. The local favorite in Toronto, Milos Raonic, won his opening match in three tight sets, though second-ranked Canadian Vasek Pospisil fell in the first round.

"Our ticket sales are tremendous," said tournament director Karl Hale in an ESPN.com interview. "The ticketing department is talking about all the requests Milos has."

It has captured the public's interest in a city that does not usually pay that much attention to tennis.

"It's the first time I've seen tennis penetrate the social fabric of our city and country," said Hale. "The non-tennis fan is interested in coming to the Rogers Cup now. The non-tennis fan is talking tennis."

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer lead the men's field at the event.

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