The Rogers Cup also known as the Canadian Open is the third oldest tennis tournament in the world, only behind Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Well before its presence in North York, it had a home at the Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club, with the inaugural men’s tournament taking place in 1881 and women’s in 1892. At the time, the Club was located at 149 College Street.
Now part of the US Open series, the Canadian Open, or Canadian National Championships as it was called at the time, was an amateur event. It also had many moments where it left Toronto and was contested elsewhere. In its early days, the tournament also had a home at the Queen’s Royal Hotel at Niagara-on-the-Lake, being played there 14 times between 1895 and 1914. May Sutton, who was also the first American born player to win a singles title at Wimbledon, claimed victory there in 1909.
The tournament also toured the country for a few decades between the end of WW1 and 1968, visiting places such as Winnipeg and Vancouver. 1968 was also the first year that the tournament was open to professional tennis players, and the tournament would settle back in Toronto. In the years to follow it would rotate between the Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club and The Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, hosting legendary players like Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert and Bjorn Borg.
In 1976, the National Tennis Centre was built and elevated Toronto and the Canadian Open even further as a tennis destination. In the 1980s greats like Boris Becker and Martina Navratilova graced the courts, and 1982 was the year that the Canadian Open’s men and women’s tournaments began rotating time between Toronto and Montreal.
In 2004 the National Tennis Centre was replaced by the Aviva Centre (formerly the Rexall Centre) with its first match between Andrew Agassi and Tommy Haas was played to a crowd of 10,500 people. Since then legendary players like Federer, Nadal, Halep, and Serena Williams have all taken home the prize.
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