Amateur tennis players know how hot the summer can get on Jarry Park’s tennis courts – luckily the public pool is right next door. But nothing compares to the swelter caused by the abilities of the world’s top female tennis players in Montreal for the Rogers Cup!
Jarry Park, nestled between the neighbourhoods of Villeray and Park Extension in the northern quarter of the city, is always hustle-bustle in the summer, with amateur baseball, cricket and ultimate Frisbee matches to watch left, right and centre. It’s a great place for a picnic, a stroll, a plunge in the outdoor pool… but it comes especially alive every August, when the Rogers Cup comes to town.
This year Montrealers get to watch the world’s best women tennis players battle it out in grunting glory, while the men’s matches take place in Toronto (it switches every year). Over nine grueling days of non-stop doubles and singles competitions between August 4 and 13 at Uniprix Stadium, the cream will rise to the top for the grand finale at 7 pm on the last night: the singles final. Who will make it there nobody knows, but here are five exciting players that just might! Come watch them, in the flesh, live in Montreal.
1) Victoria Arazenka: Born in Belarus but relocated at age 14 to Scottsdale, Arizona, Arazenka now sits at the Number 1 spot in the world. She’s known as an aggressive baseliner with strokes that cut like a knife. She captured her first major title when she beat Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final earlier this year, and is sure to animate the Montreal courts with her deafening shrieks.
2) Agnieszka Radwanska: A player known for her finesse and strategy, the Polish-born Radwanka is skillful at opening the court with angles that disable even more powerful opponents. She became the first Polish woman to crack the world’s Top 10 in 2006, and is now the holder of seven world titles. Her younger sister Urszula is also a pro player; they squared off at the 2011 US Open. Agnieszka won.
3) Maria Sharapova: The renowned Russian glamazon is three-time Grand Slam singles champion, a former world No. 1, and the winner of 25 career titles. Born in Siberia and raised in Sochi, Sharapova moved to Florida at age 7, where today she lives the life of the world’s highest paid female athlete – for the seventh year in a row. She’s had a great year so far, sweeping Azarenka in Stuttgart in April.
4) Samantha Stosur: This shade-wearing Australian has won three singles and 23 doubles championships, and in 2011 became the first Australian woman to win a major singles title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. Not only does Stosur have a ferocious forehand and one of the sport’s best kick serves, but she has a singular ability to attack net.
5) Petra Kvitova: This new kid on the block captured her first Grand Slam at the 2011 Wimbledon at the tender age of 21, and went on collect six other wins and rank No. 2 worldwide that year. Based in the Czech Republic, Kvitova has a knockout game that keeps the court hopping with powerful striking, sophisticated net feel and an unstoppable left-handed serve.