6/5/2014 0 Comments
The French Open has long been my favourite tennis major. There is something so unique about the red clay, the fans in Paris, the tenacity and hard work that must be put in to win a match there. But the biggest factor is because of the success that Canadians have had at the French. It is by far the most successful major for Canadian tennis players. I’m not quite sure why this is. Perhaps it is the grit, the determination, the never-give-up attitude, fight-for-every point nature that has propelled every major Canadian tennis player to career heights at this major.
Carling Bassett made the quarterfinals twice – as did Helen Kelesi. Patricia Hy and Aleksandra Wozniak both made the fourth round. Daniel Nestor has won 4 doubles titles. Now, Eugenie Bouchard has made the quarterfinals to match both Bassett and Kelesi and has even become the new standard bearer by reaching the semifinals – a first for a Canadian at the French.
But perhaps of even greater significance is the result of Milos Raonic. He became the first male Canadian singles tennis player in the modern era to advance to the quarterfinals of a major. That was like Carling Bassett’s historic first quarterfinal appearance at a major by a female Canadian tennis player at the 1984 French – 30 years ago. The timing is just too perfect. On a personal level, it was also Raonic’s first ever major quarterfinal – a huge breakthrough after many years of hype and hope.
That Bouchard and Raonic both made the quarterfinals at the 2014 French Open is something to note. Based on their recent performances and improved play, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. That it happened at the French is personally so satisfying that it makes me giddy. The French has long been home to incredible comebacks and has hosted stunning victories by my favourite players.
Now when I hear of other fans (mostly new) talk about Genie and Milos or when I hear or see news reports about them and their successes, I feel very proud that I was one of the first group of fans to take note of their early success and the promise that it held. To hear the everyday person or everyday sports fan glow about what has transpired in Paris, it’s just very satisfying.
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