The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Looking back : Agassi vs. Sampras, final curtain call at the old stadium

May 30, 2019

The secret’s out: Rogers Cup presented by National Bank will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this summer. Until the tennis balls get rolling in August, we couldn’t think of a better way to get into the swing of things than by reliving some of the tournament’s highlights in a weekly trip down memory lane!

Today, we’re starting things out with a blockbuster: the final showdown between the world’s top two players at the 1995 du Maurier Open.

Though they hadn’t been on the Tour for very long, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras were far from strangers, since they’d already met on the courts 15 times. Sampras had a record of eight wins and seven losses against his fellow American, and there was no way to predict who would emerge victorious from their 16th clash.

After dropping the first set, Agassi turned things around by running down every ball and not giving Sampras any opportunity to get back in the match. The World No.1 coasted to a third Canadian title—his first in Montréal—in three sets (3-6, 6-2, 6-3). He was the last player to win a match on Centre Court at Jarry Stadium.

Photo: Bernard Breault / La Presse

Earlier that year, the city of Montréal had given Tennis Canada the go-ahead to revamp its installations. At the trophy presentation ceremony, tournament director John Beddington was moved to tears as he confirmed the news: “Seventeen years ago, we had a dream. Today, we had a dream final. Next year, you will have a dream stadium.”

In the early afternoon, before the players stepped out onto the court, fans had the chance to leave their mark on the stadium walls. When all was said and done, the newly crowned champion was asked to do the same. On Centre Court, he signed off with “bye-bye”.

Andre Agassi has always had a soft spot for our tournament. After the win, he graciously recalled that his return to the game after surgery had started a year before, at the Canadian Open.

It was the perfect ending to the very last tournament in the old stadium, which had hosted a record-breaking 119 927 spectators that week.


(Feature photo: Bernard Brault / La Presse)