Billie Jean King, Pete Sampras and Derek Strang to be inducted into Rogers Cup Hall of Fame in Toronto

To Press Releases listToronto, ON
,
Jul 16, 2013

Tennis Canada announced Tuesday that Billie Jean King, Pete Sampras and Tennis Canada chief operating officer Derek Strang will be inducted into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame during the 2013 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto in recognition of their contribution to Canada’s premier tennis tournament.

King will be inducted in a Centre Court ceremony held during the Wednesday evening session on August 7 while Sampras will be inducted in a similar ceremony on Saturday, August 10 prior to playing his Rogers Legends Cup match against John McEnroe, a 2007 inductee. Strang’s induction will take place in a private ceremony amongst friends and family.  

While in Toronto, King will also be participating in a special Women’s Executive Event presented by Haagen-Dazs and Xerox. A first-of-its-kind affair at Rogers Cup, the Women’s Executive Event will host fifty of the top female leaders in the city for a panel discussion about diversity and equality with three women who have made an indelible mark in this area globally.  The panel, moderated by WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster, will feature King and Xerox president and CEO Ursula Burns, the FORBES No. 14 most powerful woman in the world. The invitation-only event will be held in a private suite on the same night as King’s induction, and will also be highlighted by that session’s feature match which will include WTA world No. 1 Serena Williams.

King’s influence and role in growing the WTA is felt in the success and growth of all women’s tennis events, including Rogers Cup. A founding member and first president of the WTA, King pushed for the rights of professional tennis players and for gender equality both on and off the court. Also one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game, she clinched 39 Grand Slam titles throughout her storied career, including 12 singles, 16 doubles, and 11 mixed doubles. She is also remembered for her victory over Bobby Riggs in the famous ‘Battle of the Sexes’ match in 1973. As the WTA is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the timing is ideal to honour a pioneer like King.

A fan favourite, Sampras reached the final in Canada in 1995, semifinals in 1990, and two other quarter-finals. Second all-time in number of Slams won (14) and weeks spent as the world’s No. 1-ranked player (286), Sampras’ name will be in the history books for many years to come. Known as one of the sport’s best-ever servers, Sampras won two Australian Opens, seven Wimbledon titles (including four consecutive), and five US Opens. He also ended a record six consecutive seasons as world No. 1 (1993-1998). Sampras exited the ranks of professional tennis at the top of his game, winning his very last match in the 2002 US Open final against Andre Agassi to capture Slam No. 14.
 
The success of Rogers Cup over the years has been in large part thanks to the efforts of Strang. Retiring this year as Tennis Canada’s Chief Operating Officer after three decades with the organization, Strang’s footprint is all over the event. He was one of the most significant figures in the opening of Rexall Centre, Toronto’s world-class stadium that opened in 2004, as he led its development, design, and construction. He also played a considerable role in the re-build of Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. In addition, recognizing the need for more indoor facilities across the country in order to grow tennis nationally, he also championed the National Facilities Advocacy Committee, which has helped to bring numerous projects to fruition.

The previously announced Montreal Rogers Cup Hall of Fame inductees are former Canadian players Stephane Bonneau, Simon Larose, Sebastien LeBlanc and Frederic Niemeyer.

Rogers Cup presented by National Bank will take place August 3-11, 2013 at Rexall Centre on the York University campus in Toronto and from August 2-11, 2013 at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.rogerscup.com.

About Rogers Cup presented by National Bank

Rogers Cup presented by National Bank is a Tennis Canada owned and operated world-class tournament celebrating its 133nd anniversary of the men’s event from August 2-11, 2013 at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal and its 121st anniversary of the women’s event from August 3-11, 2013 at Rexall Centre in Toronto. As an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, Premier WTA tournament and Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series event, Rogers Cup presented by National Bank will showcase the world’s best players. Rogers Cup presented by National Bank is the third-oldest title in tennis, behind only Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. For more information and tickets visit www.rogerscup.com.

About Tennis Canada

Founded in 1890, Tennis Canada is a non-profit, national sport association with a mission to lead the growth of tennis in Canada and a vision to become a world-leading tennis nation. We value teamwork, passion, integrity, innovation and excellence. Tennis Canada owns and operates the premier Rogers Cup presented by National Bank WTA and ATP World Tour events, eight professional ITF sanctioned events and financially supports 11 other professional tournaments in Canada. Tennis Canada operates junior national training centres/programs in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Tennis Canada is a proud member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the International Wheelchair Tennis Association, and serves to administer, sponsor and select the teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and all wheelchair, junior and senior national teams. Tennis Canada invests its surplus into tennis development. For more information on Tennis Canada please visit our Web site at: www.tenniscanada.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.