July 30, 2015

Former Canadian Tennis Player Rene Simpson Dies


(October 17, 2013) Tennis Canada announced the death of former player, coach and Fed Cup captain, Rene Simpson. Simpson passed away Thursday in Chicago after a year-long battle with brain cancer. She was 47 years old.

She also served as Canada’s Fed Cup captain from 2001 to 2009. As a pro, Simpson reached a career-high of No. 70 in April 1989 and advanced to the third round of Roland Garros that same year. In doubles, she was ranked as high as No. 32 in the world, won three titles and was a US Open quarter-finalist. Simpson was inducted into the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.

“We are extremely saddened and carry a heavy heart by the news of Rene’s passing,” said Hatem McDadi, vice-president, tennis development, Tennis Canada. “We have lost a very dear friend and member of our tennis family. Rene will be remembered for her courage, patriotic spirit, warmth and loyalty to friends and family. She has been an inspiration and a role model to friends, family and our current generation of female tennis players. Rene is dearly loved and will be missed. We extend our deepest condolences to Rene’s family and friends including her husband Jason Collins, her parents Burt and Jane and her sisters Carol and Anne. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”

Tennis Canada will honor Simpson during the upcoming Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first-round tie between Canada and visiting nation Serbia to be held February 8-9, 2014.

Memorial services will be held in both Chicago and Toronto.  Donations in honor of Rene Simpson can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.


US Open Series Approach Shots: Rogers Cup Toronto Tournament Director Karl Hale

Tennis Panorama News will be covering all of the US Open Series tournaments this summer. The second entry in our series of short Q & A’s with the Tournament Directors of some of the US Open Series tournaments is with Karl Hale, the Tournament Director of  Rogers Cup, the WTA event in Toronto which runs from August 7-14. For the first time both the women’s and men’s Rogers Cup tournaments will be held the same week  with the men in Montreal and the women in Toronto.

TPN: How did your career lead you to becoming the Tournament Director?
KH: I have always been involved in the sport of tennis in various capacities.  I coached Canada’s junior and Fed Cup Teams. I have also been instrumental in fundraising for Tennis Canada and player development.   This back ground lead to my involvement in becoming the tournament director of the Rogers Cup.

TPN: This year must be a unique challenge having both the Men’s and Women’s tournaments running at the same time in different cities, could you talk about it? What led to this decision?
KH: The tours would like to see more combined events that will grow the sport.  Somewhat like a Grand Slam experience.  There is the challenge of virtually combining our event in both cities on site and for our broadcast.  We have our Rogers Connected Zone where fans and players can chat between cities. 250 screens on site showing both Toronto and Montreal coverage.  Updates from both tournament directors and our broadcasters have more regional channels 4, 1 national and coverage of all our semifinals and finals.  It is very innovative and will be a better product for our fans on site and television.

TPN: What makes the Rogers Cup so special?
1.  Our player field has the top 50 men and 25 women.  Including Serena and Venus.  One of the strongest of any tournament this year.
2. Legends are coming.  Agassi, McEnroe, Courier and Chang.
3. Great facilities.
4. Great on site activities from free family weekend, buick test drive program. Free giveaways from various sponsors etc.
5.  Canadian people. The warmest and friendliest in the world.
6. Two world class cities with lots of activities and history.  Toronto and Montreal.

TPN: What special events are planned for the fans attending Toronto?

KH: As mentioned our Legends event and Free Family Weekend with our Celebrity Tennis are always hits!

TPN: In addition to the very strong ladies field, what up and coming Canadian Women will be playing the Rogers Cup?

KH: Rebecca Marino 38 in the world will be a dangerous player and former top 20 player Alexandra Wozniak is coming back.

TPN: Do you think that the US Open Series gives good exposure to Canadian tennis players?

KH: Yes, especially if they have good results.  Being broadcast in the US gives tremendous exposure to our players.

TPN: In addition to the ladies, there will be a legends tournament, how did this come about?

KH: Fans wanted to see more tennis and Agassi leads the group.  It’s all about entertainment and supporting our tremendous fan base.  The feedback has been even better than we anticipated.

For more information on the Rogers Cup: http://www.rogerscup.com/

Tennis Panorama News will be onsite covering the Rogers Cup – the WTA tournament in Toronto and the ATP Masters event in Montreal.