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August 11, 2019

Karl Hale

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Karl.

Q. Good morning, Karl.

Q. How are you feeling about this matchup? This has to be kind of a dream for a tournament director.
KARL HALE: This is absolutely the dream final scenario we could have had. The whole week building up to this has been exceptional: the player field, the quality of the matches, the attendance, just the general atmosphere around the Rogers Cup.

Arguably our best tournament we've had in history.

Q. Can I just follow up on that a little bit? You've been doing this for a long time and you're widely regarded as being very strong in your job. You have strong relationships with Serena. You really understand all this so well and you got your dream scenario. I've never seen something so perfect all come together. Even the weather is perfect.
KARL HALE: I did my job. (Laughing.)

Q. I could go online and still get a handful of tickets just before I came here. Last night, you know, yesterday's, I think there were 300, 400 unsold tickets when I checked before. Friday quarterfinal against No. 3 player in the world, there were a lot of unfilled seats. What are the limitations of Toronto as a tennis market from your observations over all this time given this is the perfect scenario? And also relative to Montreal where we see, you know, enormous crowds, enormous interest that seem to dwarf Toronto.
KARL HALE: I mean, we're the largest one-week event in the world, Toronto, Montreal, the WTA event.

The event is continuing to grow. I started in 2006, and my first term was 2017. So since then, it's been tremendous growth. We're continuing to see that. We had our first sellout sessions on the women's side in over 20 years Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday night, yesterday, as well. So we're on track.

With the success of Bianca, we expect the sport and the tournament to grow tremendously over the next five years.

Q. How would you define a successful tournament? Because you've been doing this for a while, how do you kind of see the layout of success for you?
KARL HALE: There's different layers to that. I mean, obviously, you know, for the fan it's the matches and the quality of matches. And we saw that from the very beginning on Monday night with the Sharapova-Kontaveit match and it continued through the whole week. The day sessions were doing into the night sessions, so the fans were ecstatic. The player field was really strong. I mean, those are the two main parts.

We look on the grounds, ticket sales are amazing. On the ground, F&B is up 40%. So in all areas we're seeing tremendous growth this year versus two years ago and years past.

Q. When you look at Bianca and Felix, they're rising tennis stars, but what does it mean to have them match donations for the "What It Takes" campaign, at so young being so philanthropic.
KARL HALE: I mean, it shows the quality of people that they are. They're Canadians. They like to give back. The sport has given them a lot. So they did that without any questions asked. So we're really proud for them as our players and to represent the young people.

Put Felix in there too.

Q. Most of the tennis players seem to be developed by a particular coach or a few coaches in general. Can you talk about the process of Bianca being developed by Tennis Canada and the tennis federation and the impact that this has on Rogers Cup and on tennis in general in Canada.
KARL HALE: Well, a really nice story, Andre Labelle has a tremendous history in developing Bianca. He flew from Montreal today to come and watch this final. And since then, she's moved on through our system with other coaches.

You know, in our sport, we want to see more female tennis players. So her winning the tournament and her rise over this year is going to help that tremendously.

So we're really excited over the next few years to see the growth of women's tennis.

Q. Just wanted to follow up with Bianca. When did she really become known, I mean, she's not really well-known in Canada yet. She's getting there.

Q. Inside the tennis circles, the developmental people who developed her, when was it that you saw a star emerging? When did that happen?
KARL HALE: Les Petits As is recognized as the top under-14 tournament in the world, and she won that. So that's when she really got on the radar that she's one of the top international players for her age, and she's continued that throughout.

Last year she had a minor setback. She was injured for a little while. And then the beginning of this year, as everybody knows, in New Zealand she came back and won the championship. And since then it's been a meteoric rise, including here at the Rogers Cup.

Q. I'm curious to know, each year sort of the Romanian-Canadian community comes out and supports Simona, and now they've kind of been drawn to Bianca as well. What have you noticed in that vein this week?
KARL HALE: No, they really support -- you know, historically they've been here with Simona. And after Simona was unable to complete the match, they followed up with Bianca.

They are coming here today. There's 50 of them in that group that always support Simona. So it's great to have them continue to support the tournament with Bianca.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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