Being a professional tennis player is tough. You've got to train, compete, travel, and play nice with your sponsors. There's also some pressure to win as well. But those who will play playing in the WTA Rogers Cup this week will be having it pretty good.
The women playing in the Rogers Cup will be competing for a $1.34 million purse this week. Yet while only one woman can walk away with a tournament championship, they'll all be leaving Toronto pampered.
There will be "several new amenities" this year for the participants, topped off by an Aveda spa facility. The tournament organizers are hoping to give some extra comfort to the stars, but more importantly they hope this provides incentive to return.
"We sent out some gifts to some of the players so they could see what we were doing," tournament director Karl Hale said. "But unless you experience it, you really don't know what it's about.You'd think that the prize money for the Rogers Cup would be reason enough to head to show up and compete. Or the chance to spend a week in the great city of Toronto. Yet the tournament hasn't been the draw that it could be. It seems that timing is everything.
"The feedback we've received so far has been excellent. Hopefully, in two years [when the WTA event returns to Toronto], they understand that we do a great job here."
Player absences plagued the past two Rogers Cup events, partly because players wanted to rest up before the U.S. Open in two weeks. Hale said Tennis Canada has no plans to look for a new date when the WTA Tour rejigs its schedule in 2009. "We're going to stay within the same area of the summer calendar," Hale said. "It works well for us, and it works well for the players."Along with the spa, the tournament will also be increasing its prize pool by $1 million for 2009, and is finishing a $7.5 million renovation to its player areas. If you're going to tune up for the U.S. Open in Toronto, you'll be doing it in style, that's for sure. The players might be too busy with their seaweed masks and juice bars to remember to play. It's almost as if there's an incentive to lose early so you have more time to be pampered. You could fit in a few extra Caribbean foot treatments that way.