TORONTO, Canada - Tennis Canada is mourning the loss of a friend as former player, coach and Fed Cup captain Rene Simpson passed away in Chicago on Thursday after a year-long battle with brain cancer. She was 47 years old.
Simpson's contribution to Canadian tennis is immeasurable, but her passion for Canada's Fed Cup squad stands atop her career achievements. Not only did she own a 20-16 record in the team competition, where she was a regular participant throughout the 1990s, she also served as Canada's Fed Cup captain from 2001 to 2009. Among her accomplishments is leading the team to a World Group II berth in 2007. As a pro, Simpson reached a career-high of No.70 in April 1989 and advanced to the third round of Roland Garros that same year. In doubles, she was ranked as high as No.32 in the world, won three titles and was a US Open quarterfinalist. Simpson was inducted into the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.
"We are extremely saddened and carry a heavy heart by the news of Rene's passing," said Hatem McDadi, Vice President of Tennis Development, Tennis Canada. "We have lost a very dear friend and member of our tennis family. Rene will be remembered for her courage, patriotic spirit, warmth and loyalty to friends and family. She has been an inspiration and a role model to friends, family and our current generation of female tennis players. Rene is dearly loved and will be missed. We extend our deepest condolences to Rene's family and friends, including her husband Jason Collins, her parents Burt and Jane, and her sisters Carol and Anne. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time."
Tennis Canada will honor Simpson during the upcoming Fed Cup World Group II first round tie with Serbia, to be held February 8-9, 2014. Memorial services will be held in both Chicago and Toronto. Donations in honor of Rene Simpson can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada.
Statement from WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster:
"Rene was a truly special person who touched the lives of so many in such a positive way. A great champion on and off the court, she was an inspiration to generations of young Canadian girls who loved the sport of tennis and the competition like she did. Rene loved to win and she was incredibly proud of representing Canada on the WTA's world stage, and although she enjoyed a lot of success on the court her greatest accomplishment was living a full life and living the life she wanted to live.
"Today we are deeply saddened to lose our friend. And although our WTA star has lost her fierce battle with cancer, her competitive, independent spirit will inspire us and our memories of Rene will continue to shine brightly.
"As a personal friend of Rene, and on behalf of Rene's former competitors and everyone in the WTA family, our hearts go out to her loving and supportive husband Jason, her parents, sisters and friends on this incredibly sad day."