MONTREAL – Athletes at the 2010 Rogers Cup have relatively modest tastes and haven't been making extravagant requests, tournament officials say. But three new services are proving very popular: the exclusive hair salon, the 3-D television and the Jacuzzi.
News that a whirlpool bath was available was a surprise to No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki.
"Do we have a Jacuzzi here? I'll ask the tournament director and take advantage of that," she said to chuckles in the media room following a doubles match Wednesday.
Player services official Marie-Helene Payette tells QMI Agency that modern technology has cut back on the number of special requests from players. IPhones and iPads allow athletes to book their own flights or search for nightspots on their own.
Faced with declining demand for their services, Rogers Cup organizers came up with a bevy of new perks to pamper visiting athletes.
There are mouth-watering Montreal bagels from the St-Viateur bakery north of downtown. There's also made-to-order coffee courtesy of Nespresso, one of the tournament sponsors.
The athletes are said to be wolfing down bagels at a vicious rate and it takes a team of four, including Babak Hejazi, just to finalize breakfast orders on site.
"In previous years we only had basic coffee," Hejazi told QMI. "But two years ago we started serving espressos, to the great pleasure of our European players."
The toughest request Rogers Cup organizers can recall came from Andre Agassi a few years back. He demanded sugar-free Red Bull, which no one could find anywhere in Montreal.
A staff member finally had to drive to Plattsburgh, in upper New York State, to pick up a case, says Payette.
The only unusual request this year came from two Japanese players, who asked for a pair of tickets to a Backstreet Boys concert, said Payette.
Organizers say most players have had relatively uncomplicated demands, such as three square meals a day and ample time on the practice court.
One perk that didn't make the final cut – dog grooming. The canine coiffeur had been on standby for noted dog lovers Serena and Venus Williams, both of whom pulled out of the Rogers Cup.
Wozniacki might not have been up to date on all of the perks available, but she was sure to put in quality time with one of them.
"We have the Playstation downstairs and everything, so yeah, those things I take advantage of."