Rogers becomes presenting partner of National Tennis Centre
It has been a difficult year. As the world came to a standstill, so too did tennis development. Programs and staff were cut, local events were cancelled, and our young players were unable to compete in tournaments for most of 2020.
It became essential for Tennis Canada to find additional resources to help us continue our mission to lead the growth of tennis in Canada.
Rogers Communications stepped up and renewed their commitment to help grow tennis at all levels across the country with a seven-year partnership agreement. This notably includes increased support for the National Tennis Centre (NTC) and a newly-developed Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program as the first-ever presenting partner of both initiatives.
Rogers’ support for the program will allow the centre to continue to operate at an elite level and will help facilitate the recruitment of staff, including coaches and sport science experts, to ensure the centre will continue to shape Canada’s future generation of Olympic and Grand Slam hopefuls. These kids are at a crucial stage in their development and need to be surrounded by the best team and facilities available. Rogers will also be supporting the athletes’ communications needs in providing them with the best cellphone coverage so they can remain connected with their families.
“Rogers has been a leading partner for tennis in Canada for many years, both at the professional and grassroots community level,” said Michael Downey, President and CEO at Tennis Canada. “It has been the principle partner in developing our successful professional tournaments into what they are today, and this renewed partnership will make a real difference in other aspects of our sport – from grassroots to high-performance to professional.
“With a greater focus on the next generation of Canadian superstars and wider accessibility to tennis through more year-round community tennis courts across the country, Rogers is once again demonstrating its commitment to growing our sport at all levels. After an extremely difficult year for our organization in 2020, its invaluable support will go a long way in helping us to grow tennis across the country.”
“Since its inauguration, the NTC has over 40 successful graduates from the program, including the likes of Bianca Andreescu, Eugenie Bouchard, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic who have all gone on to have stellar careers on the professional circuit and represent their country with distinction,” said Louis Borfiga, Vice-President of High Performance at Tennis Canada.
“These athletes will have the opportunity to compete with the best players in the world and continue to make Canadian tennis history. Unfortunately, our junior players were unable to compete in many events last year due to the pandemic. We look forward to seeing what the 2021 season has in store for them.”
The current athletes involved in the program include Victoria Mboko, Kayla Cross, Mia Kupres, Annabelle Xu, Jaden Weekes, Christophe Clément and Stefan Simeunovic. Some of these players have been in Tennis Canada’s development stream for a few years already, coming out of our regional training centres in Toronto and Montreal.
Tennis is played overwhelmingly outdoors by Canadians and the country has around just 750 accessible covered courts. On a per capita basis, that’s one for every 50,000 members of the population. To put that into context, other leading tennis nations have much superior ratios – such as the Czech Republic, France and Belgium.
More and more Canadians are being inspired to pick up a racquet. This is particularly true now, through the COVID-19 pandemic, during which tennis has been one of the few outdoor activities the public have been able to enjoy. However, due to a combination of a lack of covered courts, Canada’s harsh winter and the pandemic, they are unable to do so.
To combat this issue, Rogers is teaming up with Tennis Canada and local municipalities across the country to invest in a Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program, becoming the initiative’s presenting partner.
Their support for the project, in the form of much needed capital seed money, aims to help build up to 160 year-round courts at 28 new facilities over the next seven years, representing an impressive and significant 20% increase. This can make sizeable difference for communities being able to pick up a tennis racquet and play the sport year-round.
“Rogers is very pleased to renew its partnership with Tennis Canada, this time with a focus on growing and developing grassroots tennis in communities large and small across Canada,” said Simone Lumsden, Chief Marketing Officer at Rogers Communications. “Over the course of this seven-year commitment, we want to help Tennis Canada add 20% year-round community court capacity with 160 new covered courts. Increasing access to tennis and helping make it available year-round will also give more opportunity to our next generation of high-performance athletes.”
Rogers will also continue as the sponsor of Rogers Community Team Tennis, a grassroots program run by Tennis Canada to get kids involved in the sport at a young age, and sponsor of the Rogers Rookie Tour, a program designed to bridge the gap between entry-level tennis and more competitive levels.