The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup


August 11, 2021

The best wins aren’t always posted on the scoreboard. Rebecca Marino is the epitome of that.

While the fans on opening night of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers may have been in the stands for Leylah Fernandez, they left IGA Stadium after a long ovation for 30-year-old Canadian Rebecca Marino.

Against all odds, the No.220 ousted No.26 Madison Keys (6-3, 6-3).

Montréal is familiar to Keys, who competed in the final here in 2016 against Simona Halep.

After serving an early warning and consolidating the break, Marino never looked back. Her only hiccup was a 0-2 deficit in the second set.

But she quickly got her wits about her and closed things out in just 68 minutes—a great thing considering the high heat and humidity on Centre Court.

How important is the win? “There was Marion Bartoli at no.1 in my career, and now this is no.2,” she said.

starting over

When Naomi Osaka recently revealed her mental health struggles, she reopened a conversation Rebecca Marino has had many times.

Photo: Patrice Lapointe / Tennis Canada

In 2010, the Canadian ace was riding high. She played in the fourth round in Melbourne and the final in Memphis and rose as high as No.38. She was 20, and the world was her oyster.

But hounded by cyberbullying that exacerbated her latent depression, Rebecca chose to walk away from tennis for five years. A hiatus, not a retirement.

Away from the courts, Rebecca Marino had no intention of hiding under a rock. Instead, she gave her life a jolt. She went to university and even rowed on the varsity team.

In 2018, she came back to the courts—the minor league ones at first to get some ranking points—with all their challenges and struggles.

This week, as Tennis Canada’ guest and as a thank you for her contribution to Canada’s Billie Jean King Cup playoff against Serbia, Rebecca gets a fancy hotel room and a driver to take her to and from the National Bank Open.

If she wants to move up in the WTA though, she’ll still have to travel to places like Evansville, Indiana.

“I know a lot of people didn’t understand, but it was the right decision to leave my sport,” said Marino. “I’m proud from a personal standpoint, and I think that’s reflected in my game.”

It definitely is.


Photo: Sarah-Jade Champagne / Tennis Canada

“I made too many errors. There were just too many opportunities I didn’t take.”

Leylah Fernandez makes no excuses. 

She didn’t blame the heat, the humidity or her nerves when asked about her 2-hour, 5-7, 6-7 (4) loss to qualifier Harriet Dart (No.152) in the sweltering heat.

Leylah got ahead in both sets but just couldn’t capitalize.