With the Rogers Cup set to take place in Montreal next week, Blainville, Quebec's Aleksandra Wozniak reflects on preparing for the event in her home province with her personal blog on RDS.ca and TSN.ca.
I took a few days off after Wimbledon, but now I'm back in training - seven hours a day, six days a week. I've finished my preparation for the tournament at Stanford before returning to Quebec for the Rogers Cup.
And I've spent a lot of time on the field and in the gym.
I'm really happy to go play at Stanford, a place where I've kept some precious memories. This is where, in 2008, I won my first title on the WTA Tour at age 20. This time, I'm going through qualification before I get to see my name on the main board - an event that will feature top seed Serena Williams.
It seems that when a tennis player returns to play in a tournament that he or she has already won, the organizers generally give some more attention to that former champion. Sometimes you're entitled to special treatment because they're happy to know you're returning. There are certainly a lot of tournaments in a year and each player usually has an established route for the season. Sometimes the former champions don't return to where they'vewon.
But as a former champion, I keep so many great memories and beautiful thoughts it feels good to go back. Not to mention that Stanford University is beautiful, with a great atmosphere and people who love tennis. They're true enthusiasts and it's nice to play there.
I was also very happy to learn that the organizers of the Rogers Cup gave me a pass for the tournament, which begins next week in Montreal. I've supported Tennis Canada for several years and they believe in me, knowing all the efforts that I put in to heal my injured right shoulder.
Tennis Canada knows that I work hard to improve my lot in the sport. I was 378th in the world but now I'm up at 103rd. There was a time when I was one of the few Canadians on the professional tour, but I continued to get great support along with other new players.
Going through the qualification stage doesn't bother me, but I am very pleased with this pass in Montreal. Upon my return to competition, the most important thing was playing as many events as possible just to get into shape. I hadn't played for a year and wanted to find my bearings and rebuild my confidence. Then when you start winning more regularly, it's good to get to play in places like Montreal.
And the Rogers Cup is my favorite tournament. When I was younger, my parents took me to this tournament so I could see my idol Monica Seles in action.
Watching her in my hometown made me want to be like her.
It made me dream.
And it's great for encouraging young people to play tennis.
And of course, I get to play at home - where I reached the quarterfinal round two years ago and was the first Canadian in 20 years to get that far in the tournament.
It will be very fun to play at home in front of family and sponsors, not to mention the fans who bring a beautiful energy. I'll try to play my best tennis for my supporters and go as far as possible against the best in the world. I would like to repeat what I did two years ago, taking one game at a time.
And of course, Eugenie Bouchard's success in the WTA is spilling over in courts across the country. With Eugenie and others making their mark, we're demonstrating to the world that Canadians won't be easy prey and we're very competitive. A few years ago, I was the only Canadian in the Top 50. Today, we have Eugenie and Sharon Fichman - not to mention the guys! All of these good performances are inspiring our youngest to play tennis.
I am very pleased to see Eugenie succeed on the world stage. We all work very hard to climb to the top and we do it our own way. I reached 21st in the world a few years ago but unfortunately, injuries slowed my progress. But I'm a very persistent and determined girl and will continue my journey by staying focused on my career.
A heavy loss - Dr. Francis Jean
It's with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Dr. Francis Jean, the founder of The Iris Visual Group. They were my first major sponsor, well before my win at Stanford.
Francis believed in me and always encouraged me - even when things weren't going so well. He sent me little words of encouragement and was very active in the tennis world. He was a true sports enthusiast and was loved by all. My deepest sympathies to his entire family.