Saturday, July 4, 2015


Just as a pre-cursor, I will get back to the Western Hockey League preview, likely tomorrow but I thought this evening I would touch on something more immediate and prevalent, that being the 2015 Wimbledon championships, and the state of Canadians in the game of tennis. As of this entry, only Vasek Pospisil remains in the main singles draw, with more prominent names like Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard exiting England early.

The game of tennis has never been more popular among youth, specifically Canadian youth where for the first time, well since ever we have two, maybe three marketable tennis players in Canada that the youth can aspire to. Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties, my sporting inspirations were generally hockey players with the occasional baseball player thrown in there because frankly at that time all we had for a national sports media outlet was TSN, and they filled the tube with Paul Romaniuk led hockey broadcasts, Vic Rauter and his iconic voice repeatedly echoing his catch phrase, "Make the Final" while calling curling and bowling, Dan Shulman and at the time color commentator Buck Martinez doing Blue Jay baseball games and for some ridiculous reason, weekday/weekend mornings divulged in a multitude of fitness shows which were usually filmed on some beach in Hawaii. The diversification that we see on the main networks such as Sportsnet and TSN now allows our future, the kids to opportunity to pick and choose what athletes and sports they want to fantasize over. When I was being raised, to continue with the tennis example, the only Tennis I was able to see was the stache', aka Jim Van Horne show some racquet on the daily highlight pack on Sportsdesk. There was no chance to become a fan of Sebastien Lareau or a pre successful doubles Daniel Nestor because they were NEVER on T.V. The fact is, tennis is "in" now and because of this tennis has never got more attention in Canada.

Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic have obviously been the catalysts behind this. These are two well spoken individuals who because of play, have untampered expectations and are realistically shooting for major championships. We'll start with Raonic. Unfortunately for Milos he ran into a player that I predict will be a top five player in the world within two years in Nick Kyrgios. When I watch Kyrgios play, there are evident similarities with the way himself and Juan Martin Del Potro play  because both play in such a way that appears they are giving off very little effort and their forehands look fortuitously effortless. Losing to Kyrgios is no problem for the Yugoslavian turned  Canadian but what is becoming  concerning is that another major has passed without any real breakthrough. When Milos trumpeted over Fernando Verdasco in the 2011 SAP open, the sky was seemingly the limit as I even remember the year before Andy Roddick going on record and predicting great things for the young canuck. Whatever Andy Roddick says goes as his track record is impeccable especially when choosing companions....I mean some may say, well I'll say it anyways that I view the securement of now wife Brooklyn Decker a bigger accomplishment then taking down the 2003 U.S Open. The ironic thing here is, as spot on as Roddick's been in every facet he may have misprognosticated Raonic because now four years later, we're still waiting for that Major marvel. A recent foot issue may has likely hampered his self to be competitive anymore for 2015 so we'll have to patiently wait for 2016 because this will be the stepping stone to ascertain whether Raonic can be an Andy Roddick or whether he'll plummet and become Mark Phillipousis.

Who are we kidding, if the girl known as Genie(Bouchard) wanted, she could sell more SI swimsuits then the one girl that could rival Decker for me, that being Kate Upton. She's 11/10 attractive. Attractiveness will only get you so far in the sporting community as Anna Kournikova would like to say hello. To stay news worthy Bouchard knows that she'll need to win a slam and she almost did in 2014 and everybody thought 2015 would be the year that she would win not just one, but possibly two majors. Disastrous wouldn't be a strong enough adjective to describe her 2015 thusfar. In May, she was in a midst of a six game losing streak which is unfathomable considering her plight in the majors last year compounded by the fact she wasn't playing Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova every match. So what's happened to cause such a dramatic slide? Over confidence, lack of conditioning. After her most recent first round exit at Wimbledon, she finally cleaned out her demons and admitted that she was dealing with a grade 2 abdominal tear. I reckon that she's not 100% but I also have a problem when athletes try to parlay their injures at convenient times to save face.  I mean, after her loss at the tournament immediately prior to  Wimbledon, where was the news of this injury then? In my expert opinion, because the previous tournament had no media attention there was no benefit in revealing then, might as well wait for a global platform to excuse your sub par outings.  Eugenie has the game as displayed in 2014 and will likely get a pass in 2015 from the good graces but she surely knows 2016 will be a very important year as another stinker will have her known as Kournikova 2.0.

I've actually thoroughly enjoyed this years Wimbledon Championships aside from the Canadian struggles, for what I've watched anyways because the matches commence at 4:30 A.M local or as a good buddy of mine would preface, the matches commence in the "middle of the night". The highlight for me so far would be when Jamaican Dustin Brown upset clay court specialist Rafael Nadal. Brown miraculously qualified through to the main draw and then took down a giant on his way to the third round. What's always baffled me is usually sports are built around gaining momentum but in tennis for whatever reason I could bring forth hundreds of examples in which an underdog upsets a favourite and as the tournament shifts to the next round, the same underdog gets blown out of the water versus a much lesser player. Brown served his way to the biggest victory of his career and then lost to who......none other then Romanian Viktor Troicki???#unexplainable. Like I eluded to in the opening paragraph, Pospisil has captivated the imaginations of Canadians with his fourth round exploits. Pospisil will now take on the aforementioned giant killer, Viktor Troicki. Giant killer may be a bit much, we'll go with "Jamaican killer" instead. On the womens side, the player that I have my eye on is Madison Keys. The twenty first seeded America is essentially guaranteed a quarterfinal appearance unless she somehow succumbs to the Belarusian Olga Govortsova. A Govortsova win would be a greater Belarusian sporting accomplishment then when Belarus beat the Tommy Salo led, or better put the Tommy Salo lost Swedes in the 2002 Olympics in mens ice hockey. This blogger is once again going bold(no shock to anyone) inserting that I believe Keys will win Wimbledon. I'm sorry Madison, this probably means you've just lost the next round.

Until next time, take care!

Brett Murray


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