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COVID-19: Tennis Canada could move top tournaments to US if Toronto, Montreal plan not approved

Félix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in action against Karen Khachanov of Russia during their round of 16 match at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, 08 August 2019. EPA/VALERIE BLUM

Tennis Canada hopes to hold its top professional tournaments in Toronto and Montreal this summer, but isn’t ruling out moving the events to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tennis Canada says the National Bank Open women’s tournament in Montreal and men’s event in Toronto remain on the schedule for Aug. 7-15.

However, the organization says moving the tournaments to the U.S. is an option if restrictions prevent the events from happening in Canada.

Read more: Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu tests positive for COVID-19, will skip Madrid Open

The Western & Southern Open in suburban Cincinnati is a women’s/men’s event that follows the National Bank Open (previously known as the Rogers Cup).

Last year, the Cincinnati tournament moved to New York and was held at the U.S. Open venue so players could stay in one bubble-like setting during the earlier stages of the pandemic.

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Tennis Canada says it has held talks with all levels of government in an effort to stage the tournaments in Toronto and Montreal this year.

Both National Bank Open tournaments were cancelled last year.

Read more: Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Montreal cancelled

Tennis Canada says the events bring in 90 per cent of the revenue the organization invests in the development of the sport each year, making it “critical” to stage 2021 tournaments.

Multiple Canadian professional teams have relocated to the U.S. during the pandemic to get around border restrictions.

The Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto, two of the other major annual warm-weather sporting events in Canada, have been cancelled two years in a row.

“We remain confident there are still multiple options for our tournaments to be held in Montreal and Toronto this August, such as in broadcast-only or limited-fan models, both of which have already been planned for in detail,” Eugene Lapierre, tournament director of the Montreal event, said in a statement.

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