Aleksandra Wozniak was thrilled to share the stage with Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Serena Williams in a doubles exhibition last night at Rexall Centre, but the real test will be surviving today's first match in the Rogers Cup.
With yeserday's losses suffered by Heidi El Tabakh, Stephanie Dubois and Valerie Tetreault, Wozniak, as expected, is the last chance to keep the Maple Leaf flying. She takes on Alisa Kleybanova of Russia in an afternoon match.
"We don't get the chance to be at home often," Wozniak said. "I'd like to win this tournament and one day, win a Grand Slam."
The other three exited in straight sets, though El Tabakh, who was born in Egypt, moved to Canada at age 10 and now lives in London, Ont., gave it her best in falling 7-6 (2) and 7-6 (4) to Samantha Stosur of Australia.
Wozniak, the Blainville, Que., native who in 2008 became the first Canadian to win a WTA singles title in 20 years, is ranked 39th, while Kleybanova is 37th.
Partnered with Seles, who was inducted into the Rogers Cup hall of fame last night, Wozniak lost 6-3 to Navratilova and Williams.
Extraneous grunting in women's tennis seems here to stay, but even the players are a bit shocked by how loud it gets.
"I've seen some cases where I'm practising next to a girl who is quiet and then in the match, she'd be grunting and screaming like she's giving birth," Serbian Jelena Jankovic said.
"I don't know the reason. It's good to breathe when you are hitting the ball, but up to a certain volume. They shouldn't have to hear you miles away. It can be distracting."
There has not been a repeat winner of the Rogers Cup since the turn of the century when Martina Hingis did it back-to-back, following four straight titles by Seles. The best field in a decade is present this week, not that '08 defending champ Dinara Safina of Russia is worried.
"Definitely it will be tough," Safina said of the draw.
"But all the best players are here and this is a good preparation to see what you need for the U.S. Open -- if you need something."