WTA boss loves T.O. Rogers

MIKE KOREEN and BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

The chairman/CEO of the WTA Tour feels the Rogers Cup is thriving despite the repetitive last-minute withdrawals.

Larry Scott raved about the field assembled for the Toronto event, which lost Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams in the week leading up to the tournament.

"This year's field is as good as it has been ... in fact it's a little bit better than the past few years," Scott said of the tourney, which includes six of the top 10 players, up from five the past two years.

"We're happy, the field is great. Serena (Williams) hasn't been here for a couple of years and with Justine (Henin-Hardenne), Kim (Clijsters) and Amelie (Mauresmo) and all that, it's a field we're proud of.

"(The tournament) started with something pretty spectacular that they've never seen. I'm sure fans are understandably disappointed and the tournament is disappointed they don't have everyone. But I don't think anyone has anything to be ashamed of."

Last-minute dropouts are a regular occurrence at this event and that probably won't change anytime soon.

"Injuries are a part of tennis and they will be for some time," Scott said. "The sport is getting more physical and more demanding. It's a long season. We cut two weeks off it (this year) and we're going to continue to make some changes directionally. But unless you did major surgery and created a mid-season break, if players have injuries they're going to have to take breaks during the year.

"Fortunately, we're in a place where we have a lot of personalities. It's not a situation like it was 10 or 15 years ago where you had two or three ticket sellers and that was it. Our tournaments are bigger than any individual player."

DAY ONE ACTION

Aleksandra Wozniak, the 18-year-old junior Wimbledon quarter-finalist from Blainville, Que., lost 6-2, 6-2 in a first-round match against Shinobu Asagoe of Japan. Fellow Canuck Marie-Eve Pelletier played late last night, while Stephanie Dubois rounds out the Canadian contingent with a first-rounder tonight ... Just two seeded players played yesterday -- No. 17 Ai Sugiyama of Japan beat Jelena Kostanic 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 and No. 16 Tatiana Golovin of France beat Karolina Sprem 6-4, 6-4.

WELCOME BACK MONICA

A ceremony was held last night for four-time tournament champion Monica Seles, who officially became the first woman to take a "championship walk" at the Rexall Centre.

"I wish I was playing instead of taking the first championship walk, but at this point I'll take anything I can get," Seles said.


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