Up until this year, no Canadian singles player had made it past the fourth round in the Open Era at Wimbledon. Carling Bassett, Patricia Hy and Daniel Nestor were the only Canadians to make it as far as the round of 16. Days ago, Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic were added to that list. Today, both made Canadian tennis history by becoming the first Canadians to make it to the elite quarterfinals.
What is happening at Wimbledon for Canada is simply unprecedented. Not only have Bouchard and Raonic caused a stir, they have created a palpable sense of victory. It is easy to get swept up in what they have done, but with what has happened to other players in the tournament and how things are falling into place for both of them, is it wrong to dare to think that either one of them could win Wimbledon? It’s an aura that I’ve never felt before – the feeling of the ultimate victory being so close that you can actually feel it about to happen. It’s a nervous, proud feeling. The only other time I can remember remotely feeling this way was the day when Mike Weir won the Masters. The stars just aligned for him and they are aligning for Bouchard and Raonic.
You can’t talk about Bouchard and Raonic without talking about Daniel Nestor. He has singlehandedly held Canadian tennis aloft for over 20 years – and he’s still achieving. He’s alive in both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles quarterfinals at Wimbledon – titles that he has won multiple times over the years.
With all this unprecedented success that Bouchard and Raonic are having, you have to think that all of this will have to rub off on the Canadian players below them in the rankings. Vasek Pospisil is also making a deep run in men’s doubles at Wimbledon with American Jack Sock. Now healthy after back problems, his success can only help his singles play. Aleksandra Wozniak, now healthy after arm and shoulder injuries has recently cut her ranking from the 250s to just outside the top 100. Both have the talent to join Bouchard and Raonic in the top 20.
I never thought I’d witness the day when Canada would overtake the United States as the more successful tennis nation. Never. These are giddy, can-you-believe-it, what is going to happen next, exciting, sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride times for Canadian tennis. It has been a long time coming, but what a payoff.
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