A Historic Weekend in Canadian Sports
Despite disappointing early round exits by top Canadians, Milos Raonic (singles) and Daniel Nestor (doubles), this was a great tournament for Canada, as it claimed three grand slam titles nonetheless.
Three young Canadians represented their country proudly in the Wimbledon Junior tournament. On the girls’ side, two Canadians made the semi-finals. The first was Francoise Abanda, who fell in a hard-fought three set match after cutting through the competition, including number-1 ranked Taylor Townsend. Abanda lost only a single set in the first 4 rounds on her way to a stunning performance. The most astonishing thing about Abanda is that she is only 15, so look for her to make many more waves as a junior and hopefully a professional.
Joining Abanda in the semis was 18-year old Eugenie Bouchard. Bouchard also lost a single set on her way through the draw and with a straight sets victory over Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, Bouchard became the first Canadian (male or female) to win a Grand Slam singles title taking the 2012 Wimbledon trophy. At 5’10 Bouchard has the physical tools to make the step-up and be competitive on the WTA tour. She had previously competed, but after reaching number 300 in the world she decided to hone her skills on the junior circuit a bit more – take one step back to go two forward. With this title Bouchard has cemented herself in Canadian sports history, and I hope she will continue her success at the pro level.
Canadian tennis fans would not have to wait long for their second singles Grand Slam champion, as one day later the boys’ final was contested, pitting number-1 ranked Aussie, Luke Saville, against Vancouver-born Filip Peliwo. Peliwo was a finalist at both the 2012 Australian and French Junior Opens, but fell short on both occasions (to Saville at the Australian). However, Peliwo would avenge this defeat on the grass dismissing Saville in straight sets and becoming the first Canadian male to hold a Grand Slam singles title. Peliwo also jumped over Saville to claim the number-1 overall ranking, which is another Canadian first. Peliwo is definitely ready for the big show and look for him to make his breakthrough to the ATP next year or possibly even earlier. As Peliwo posed for pictures at the Wimbledon Gala with fellow champion Roger Federer, one could only imagine the pride and excitement he must have felt. This exhilaration was shared by many Canadians, including myself, as we have made our presence known in the tennis world, and from where I stand the future looks bright – very bright.
As if that wasn’t enough, Bouchard would cap the weekend off by winning the Junior Women’s Doubles Title with her partner Townsend. This would give Canada an unprecedented three Grand Slam Championships in one weekend. What was previously considered a good year for Tennis Canada.
…and that is the Last Word.