The refusal to give Ana Ivanovic a wild card into the main draw of the upcoming Rogers Cup has caused outrage in the tennis world, with many people taking to their blogs and twitter accounts to express their discontent. Although I understand why other tournaments have decided to give Ivanovic wild cards into the events leading up to the US Open—she’s a former number one and grand slam champion—I also see why Tennis Canada made the decision they did, and I think they made the right decision.
An article written by Stephanie Myles in The Montreal Gazette today explains why tournament director Eugene Lapierre decided to refuse the wild card and make Ivanovic go through qualifying to reach the main draw:
Reason 1: Ivanovic doesn’t necessarily deserve a wild card because the fact that her ranking is currently so low has nothing to do with her being injured or anything else beyond her control, but just has to do with her not playing as well and dropping to number 63 in the world.
My Thoughts: I think this is completely understandable. Yes, Ivanovic WAS a great player, but she hasn’t been a great player for quite some time now, and if you drop in the rankings you can’t expect to be handed a ticket into the main draw just because you used to be good.
Reason 2: Tennis Canada is a nonprofit organization and wild cards for the Rogers Cup are supposed to be used to give Canadian players the chance to compete in an important event. The Rogers Cup already attracts many top players so adding Ivanovic to the draw will not affect ticket sales very much, whereas adding a local player from Quebec will likely impact ticket sales more.
My Thoughts: Tennis Canada wants to sell tickets and if they thought that adding Ivanovic to the event would make a huge difference in sales then I’m sure they would have given her a wild card. But the Rogers Cup doesn’t really need Ivanovic as they already have other top players like Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, and Jelena Jankovic who will be in attendance. Would adding Ivanovic to that list really sell more tickets? Probably not. So adding local players from Quebec, who will bring lots of family and friends, makes complete sense.
Plus, top Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak does not have a ranking high enough to qualify directly into the main draw, yet her ranking is still higher than Ivanovic’s, so she will need a wild card. Should the top Canadian, who is ranked higher than Ivanovic, not get a wild card into her own country’s event just because Ivanovic won a slam once?
I like Ivanovic, and I think she’s a good player, but it’s not like Tennis Canada refused a wild card to a Serena Williams or a Roger Federer. Maybe all those people are angry because they’re afraid Ivanovic might not make it through qualifying, and honestly, I wouldn’t be that surprised if she didn’t.