Competition fills void left by CBC

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

Tennis fans attending the Rogers Cup will have to get up an hour earlier on Saturday.

It's a price that has to be paid to keep the event on television.

TSN, Sportsnet and CTV have filled a last-minute TV void left by CBC, which is in the midst of a massive labour dispute.

The Rogers Cup semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday from the Rexall Centre at York University had been slated to be televised by CBC.

"To not have Canada's international (women's) tennis championship on TV in this country really would have been disappointing," Tennis Canada tournament director Stacey Allaster said.

"The world would have seen it live and Canadians would not have."

Here's the new arrangement:

* The first semi-final on Saturday will be shown live on TSN, starting at 12 p.m. Ticket-holders should take note of the time change, since the first semi-final originally was supposed to start at 1 p.m., and that's what it says on the printed tickets.

* The start time for the second semi-final (6:30 p.m.) will not change. It will be televised on a half-hour tape delay, starting at 7 p.m., on Sportsnet.

* The start time for the final on Sunday (2 p.m.) will not change, and the match will be televised live on CTV.

"Considering what could have been, and what other sports events currently are facing, we're incredibly lucky," Allaster said.

"I'm now ready for every 'whaf-if.' We had the blackout (in 2003) and now we've had the lockout."

CBC has locked out 5,500 Canadian Media Guild members.

"Once we realized the potential for this, we had daily conversations with CBC," Allaster said. "We knew some drop-dead dates for production issues. Obviously the lockout forced the decision.

"We're live in the U.S. on ESPN 2. We're live in Europe in prime time, so that also was a key factor. Changing the time of our final on Sunday was not an option, because the world is waiting for the event to be seen live. And then through the Eurosport platform it goes out to about 75 other countries.

"On very short notice, great friends of tennis came to our rescue."

SHE'S ONLY HUMAN

Amelie Mauresmo said it's just a matter of playing some more matches to shake off the cobwebs that settled while she was on a month-long break.

"I think it's really the lack of competition for me," she said.

Mauresmo decided to take the last month off to relax and practice so she would be refreshed for the U.S. Open and the remainder of the season.

"If we want, we can play 11 months a year," Mauresmo said. "But I'm not capable of doing that. I almost didn't stop during the first six months of the season. I had to rest a little bit.

"I'm not a machine."


Videos

Photos