The wise old proverb good things come to those who wait certainly applies to the Granby tennis tournament.
After being forced into a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, organizers are now getting into high gear.
COVID-19 restrictions meant that the Granby Challenger couldn’t celebrate its 25th anniversary, but the municipality of Granby and tournament director Alain Faucher have received the gift of a 250 event from the WTA and Tennis Canada.
The tournament is now the National Bank Championships—plural, since there will also be a men’s event—and has been moved from late July to August 20 to 28.
“It’s a great day!” said Granby native and Tennis Canada VP Eugène Lapierre.
Granby therefore takes its place among a select group whose members include Melbourne, Istanbul, Lyon, Bogota, Rabat and Monterrey (where Leylah Fernandez is a titleholder) and have an international reach thanks to their tennis broadcasting rights.
Eugène Lapierre had tapped Granby to host the National Bank Championships, which just happen to be Canada’s second largest tennis tournament after the National Bank Open with $240,000 and $320,000 in prize money at the two events, a long time ago.
If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, the tournament never would have been lent to Chicago last year. It was a unanimous decision to bring it back to Granby at the first opportunity.
“I like to think it was my idea to bring a WTA 250 tournament here, but it was the Tennis Canada team in Toronto that thought of it. WTA executives also pushed hard,” explained Lapierre, together with Mayor Julie Bourdon and tournament president Alain Faucher. “That gives you an idea of how good Granby’s reputation is.”
“It’s a wonderful sign of recognition and confidence for the work of our hundreds of volunteers who make it their mission to move tennis forward,” added Faucher.
Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil, Eugenie Bouchard, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Leylah Fernandez all learned the ropes in Granby before becoming the world-renowned champions they are today.
The tournament’s name may be new, but the WTA 250 isn’t: for 26 years, it was held in Québec as the Challenge Bell (1993 to 2013) and National Bank Cup (2014 to 2018). It crowned winners, including Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova, and hosted legends like Serena and Venus Williams.
Until there are no more restrictions
Tennis is doing A-OK!
The preparations for the National Bank Open, which welcomes the ATP Tour at IGA Stadium from August 4 to 14, are well underway, and there was great news coming out of Granby.
Things are rolling as the Challenger events in Drummondville and Saguenay and the junior tournament in Repentigny await their green light.
Remember: good things come to those who wait!
Granby before New York
The WTA 250 in Granby is slated for a week before the last Grand Slam of the season in NYC and should attract a lot of players, since the two cities are just a one-hour plane ride apart.
Top 10 in the mix
WTA 250 tournaments tend to attract players between No.20 and No.30, but the event in Chicago, which Granby replaces, was won by No.6 Elina Svitolina.
So, there’s hope.
Without being the highest ranked women on the WTA Tour, the competitors are extremely talented. Last year, the WTA 250 tournaments crowned four champions who went on to join the elite Top 10 club.
“Aim for the stars, don’t be shy, and you’ll get to the top.”
– Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to Félix Auger-Aliassime