Welcome to Tennis Canada’s 2020 Annual Report. Though my tenure as Chair of the Board began almost two years ago, this is the first Annual Report for which I have had the opportunity to write the opening remarks. We were unable to publish one last year to reflect on 2019, which is a great shame given the unprecedented success Canada enjoyed on and off the court in what was a record-breaking year.
In contrast, there is no doubt that 2020 was one of the most difficult 12-month periods in our organization’s history as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged not just our sport, but the entire world. Tournaments across the globe were cancelled or postponed, including our marquee Rogers Cup presented by National Bank (now the National Bank Open presented by Rogers) events in Toronto and Montreal. Facing a staggering $31 million loss, the organization was proactive in its management of the situation and the Board has held numerous meetings dedicated to steering Tennis Canada through the precariousness of COVID-19. We were forced into making some extremely difficult decisions but were able to reduce the financial loss to $8 million. Unfortunately, most of our juniors, seniors and wheelchair tennis events were also cancelled in 2020, but we are confident there are brighter times ahead.
Despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, our elite players were still able to produce successful performances on the biggest stage for Canadians to be proud of in 2020. While we were unable to see our 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in action, terrific seasons for Denis Shapovalov, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Milos Raonic and the resurgence of Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil were a joy to watch, as was the ever-impressive Gabriela Dabrowski in doubles and Leylah Annie Fernandez’s breakthrough onto the scene.
Away from the court, our ambitious (Re)Build a #TennisNation fundraising campaign enjoyed remarkable success. With 90% of the money we invest in the development of tennis each year being stripped away due to the postponement of our ATP and WTA 1000 events, grassroots tennis program cuts, less competitions and reduced investment in the successful high-performance system were unavoidable. However, thanks to the generosity of past and present players, my fellow board members and Canadian tennis fans, we were able to raise a staggering $850,000 to help us rebuild.
I cannot close my remarks without referencing the bright future Tennis Canada has in store. Already in 2021, we have announced historic ten-year and seven-year partnership agreements with National Bank and Rogers Communications respectively. Their new roles as title and presenting partner of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, as well as their increased investments in tennis development at all levels, from grassroots to high performance, are a testament to their confidence and belief in our great sport. But, more on that in 2021’s Annual report…