The Bryan brothers and Daniel Nestor/Édouard Roger-Vasselin played the Montreal Rogers Cup final in front of several thousands of people, on Sunday. The stadium, which has a capacity of 11,659 people, was more than half full (with only the corporate seats remaining despairingly empty), with a crowd obviously cheering for the Canadian legend, but keen on appreciating a great doubles match, which the number one team in the world won 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-6.
A turnout which really pleased the twins.
“We love to do what we do”, said Mike Bryan to BATennis World. “But it’s even more special when you look up and see a lot of people in the seats. It’s a credit to the great Montréal fans. Maybe they’re out there to see Nestor. Maybe some people were out to see us. It definitely makes for a more exciting atmosphere, more intense. Those are the moments you play for, big Masters Series finals, coming out to a packed stadium. That was cool.”
The popularity of the doubles throughout the week in Montreal made no doubt, a fact which was helped by the presence of popular singles figures in the field: Novak Djokovic (who, with partner Janko Tipsarevic, lost to Nestor/Roger-Vasselin in the semis), Rafael Nadal (who played with Verdasco and lost to the Bryans in a tight quarter-final match), and Andy Murray (who teamed up with Leander Paes and lost to brother Jamie and his partner John Peers in the second round), not to mention the all-French team of Gaël Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Lleyton Hewitt teaming up with Nick Kyrgios.
On Monday, there was no way to enter Court 9, where Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal were all scheduled to play. On Wednesday, Court 5 was completely full for the Murray vs Murray doubles clash.
At the same time, it was a bit of a problem: there were many people on location who could watch the matches (although most could not due to the courts capacity). However, no one at home could, since neither Court 9 nor Court 5 were TV courts, not to mention that only the final is broadcast during Masters 1000 events.
Nevertheless, doubles streaming appears to be slowly, but surely, picking up. We asked the Bryans if they were happy with that fact. “Yeah, it’s starting to pick up”, said Bob Bryan. “As long as doubles isn’t on TV, we can’t really expect the public to get as involved. You know, they want to see people that are stars. Novak Djokovic plays every match on TV. People love him. He’s a big star. They’re going to come to see him.
“As long as doubles matches are on the outside courts, not streamed, it’s going to be a tough row to hoe. I think all pro matches should at least be streamed live on the Internet. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
“The Challengers are now streamed live. You can see Court 1 and Court 2 of challengers, but not necessarily can you see a great doubles match between Tsonga-Monfils on Court 2 here in Montréal.
“We would like to see the ATP take steps to at least live stream on the Internet every pro match. It should be something to strive for, I think.”
We could not agree more with him on this topic.