Serena is currently ranked No. 1, while Venus is No. 7. After years of no-shows and last-minute cancellations on the women's side, the WTA Tour's new schedule offers more of an off-season and fewer commitments from the top players. It seems to be having an effect. Last year's event in Toronto boasted the top 25 players in the world.
"The restructuring worked in 2009. We have to believe it'll be the same in 2010," said Montreal tournament director Eugene Lapierre. The top women are mandated to play four of the five events in the "Premier 5" category, which includes the Rogers Cup. This year, they were asked to commit by Dec. 1. All 10 chose Montreal. In contrast, only seven of 10 chose a similar event in Cincinnati held the week prior.
A perfect tournament also would include the Belgian comeback kids, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin. Clijsters was a huge hit in Toronto last summer, in only her second tournament back after retirement. Henin, who returns to the WTA Tour next month in Australia, hasn't played in Montreal since 2002.