Archive for April, 2010
Friday, April 30th, 2010
So after a whirl wind Friday which includes meetings at the office, a drive to Milton, Friday Round table on Prime Time Sports and a gig in Stouffville (3Ht.ca), I will drag my weary butt to Pearson for a flight to Beantown on Saturday morning. Thanks to an old college buddy, I’m going to the Bruins/Flyers Game 1 tomorrow afternoon before heading to Boston University in what I hope to be a tennis matchup I’ve never experienced.
As part of Jim Courier’s Outback Series, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg could meet in tomorrow’s semifinal in the latest Series stop in Boston. It would be the first time in decades these two legends stepped on the court together. While not giving away my age, guys like Lendl, Sampras, Agassi, Edberg and Courier were the boys I watched and emulated on the courts in Fort Erie as a kid. Being able to watch Borg and McEnroe, even though they’re roughly the same age as my parents, will still be a treat.
Rivalries have always made sports special. As a big New York Yankees fan, I experience this all the time (must remember no pinstripes in Beantown). Two years ago, you could not find a bigger match up on earth than Federer and Nadal. Sure we’ve enjoyed Sampras versus Agassi and others, but what made the Big Swede and the Big Mouth so amazing was their contrasting styles both on and off the court. It’s the same feeling I get when watching RFed and Nadal. It should be a fun way to turn back the clock Saturday night.
Sure it won’t be Wimbledon 1980, but being able to watch these two icons of tennis compete (and there’s no doubt they will both be going for gusto) will be a real treat.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
As the tennis world returns to regular action following a busy global Fed Cup weekend, I’m amazed at the number of writers who have fought for format reform because Serena and Venus skipped the event again.
Despite the absence of the sisters, the United States defeated a similarly-depleted Russian squad in a deciding fifth rubber (I said rubber, that’s what they’re called). Sure, many of the superstars were missing, but it was still a riveting tie (I said tie, that’s what they’re called). It wasn’t the cleanest or prettiest tennis, but The Stars and Stripes versus Mother Russia always makes for a fun tennis matchup. Would it have been a better tie if the Williams were on court and the Russians showcased Safina, Sharapova and Kuznetsova – maybe – okay, most likely. It certainly would have featured household names instead of a lineup of ‘who?’
But as a coach of mine once said, it’s about the name on the front of the jersey and not the back. This is the only time on the tennis calendar aside from the Olympics where the team takes precedence over the athlete. I would love to see American captain Mary Joe Fernandez say ‘no Williams’ for the upcoming final versus Italy before Serena and Venus make up their own mind. The US got this far without them, defeating France and Russia and now have a chance at a record-18th Fed Cup title.
The most dominating two names in ladies tennis during my generation, the siblings have earned the rite to make up their own schedules. I would love to see them play more, just like their millions of fans around the world, but if they don’t want to play, move on.
When the country calls, Serena certainly has let the mobile go to voicemail – just four ties in 11 years. She’s 7-0 when she does play. Combined with Venus, who is 17-4, how dominating would the Americans be with them? Very. But they have enough on the go both on and off the court. I say, go on without them. It’s no harm to the sisters and the US looks to be just fine without them too.
Friday, April 23rd, 2010
The official draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II playoff tie between Canada and Argentina took place Friday in Montreal. The tie will be contested on indoor hard courts at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal from April 24-25, 2010.
The Miele Canadian Fed Cup squad consisting of Sharon Fichman (Toronto, ON), Marie-Eve Pelletier (Repentigny, QC), Valerie Tetreault (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) and Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC) will battle with Argentina in two singles matches on Saturday and two reverse singles matches on Sunday with a potential deciding doubles match to follow. Miele Canadian Fed Cup team captain Sylvain Bruneau will be at the helm for his first tie this weekend.
Today’s draw produced the following weekend match-ups:
|Event||Representing Canada||Representing Argentina|
|1st Singles Rubber,Saturday, April 24, 1:00 p.m.||Aleksandra Wozniak||Paula Ormaechea|
|2nd Singles Rubber,Saturday, April 24||Valerie Tetreault||Jorgelina Cravero|
|4th Singles Rubber,Sunday, April 25||Valerie Tetreault||Paula Ormaechea|
|Doubles Rubber,Sunday, April 25||Sharon Fichman &Marie-Eve Pelletier||Victoria Bosio &Aranza Salut|
“Our team has been practicing hard all week and is more than ready to take on the challenge of earning a spot in World Group II,” said Bruneau. “The girls are very excited about playing at home in front of an energetic Montreal crowd and I’m sure the fans are going to enjoy the show this weekend.”
A win for Canada against Argentina would advance them to the World Group II in 2011 for the first time since 2007. Only eight countries entered in Fed Cup competition will qualify for the elite World Group with the next eight qualifying for World Group II.
Action will get underway on Saturday, April 24 at 1:00 p.m. The tie will be webcast live from Montreal on tenniscanada.com in both French and English.
Live Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Web cast schedule on tenniscanada.com
(Local and Eastern time)
Saturday, April 24, 2010 1:00 p.m. Singles
Sunday, April 25, 2010 Noon Reverse Singles, followed by doubles
Friday, April 16th, 2010
If you’re from these neck of the woods, nothing brings a cringe to you more than the thought of tennis on slow, red clay. But there’s no hiding that this is the time of year when the game moves to a pace that makes anyone outside of Europe and South America feel about as comfortable as the Leafs in the playoffs.
It’s this odd change of surface (and the upcoming abbreviated grass court season) that makes tennis very cool. In order to be successful in tennis in the same manner that a chosen few are ranked, you need to play well on all surfaces. As Canadians, we are used to playing on the hard cement that is highlighted on hard courts. Along with our friends south of the 49th parallel, we need to realize that there is more to tennis than this hard surface. Four months of the year, or one-third of the tennis season, is dedicated t0 clay and grass.
Very tough for facilities to maintain a clay or grass court in Canada, but you have to learn to adjust. At the elite level, you need to play at the lighting speed of the U.S. Open or the monotonous and methodical pace that is Roland Garros. Either way, you cannot be a one-dimensional player if you want to find the top of the ATP World Tour or Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings.
Rafael Nadal looks healthier and ready to compete again on the same level that saw him battle Roger Federer for the No. 1 ranking.However the Spaniard has some work to do in order to be in the same breath as the Great Swiss once again. The tennis world is hoping that the rivalry will take another global phase. There was nothing better outside of Yankees vs. Red Sox.
So while we welcome back the ‘boys of summer’ in baseball and say farewell to hockey and basketball, let us collectively enjoy the brief clay court season and the influx of European and South American tennis studs who will dominate the courts.
Friday, April 16th, 2010
World Group II playoff tie webcast live on tenniscanada.com
Tennis Canada announced Tuesday its live coverage of the upcoming Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II playoff tie between Canada and Argentina from April 24-25 at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. The official webcast will be offered in both English and French languages, available throughout Canada and Argentina at no charge, exclusively on tenniscanada.com.
On-air personalities for the English webcast include long-time tennis analyst and former Canadian star, Helene Pelletier, who has covered numerous major tennis events for RDS. She will partner with play-by-play voice Michael Cvitkovic, Olympic tennis broadcaster and co-host of Aces on the FAN590.
The French webcast will feature two recognizable voices to tennis fans in Quebec. The tandem will consist of the in-arena voice of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal, Winston McQuade, who has provided play-by-play coverage for several of Tennis Canada’s Davis Cup and Fed Cup webcasts, along with former tennis pro, turned television personality, Melanie Marois.
“For the past two years, thousands of tennis enthusiasts have followed our national teams competing in Fed Cup and Davis Cup online,” said Michael S. Downey, president and chief executive officer, Tennis Canada. “Webcasting has become a great way to bring our matches to fans across Canada. We will continue to invest in developing our digital platforms, which will include several dynamic web properties in the near future.”
Live Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II Playoff webcast schedule (Eastern time)
Friday, April 23, 2010 Noon Official Draw
Saturday, April 24, 2010 1 p.m. Singles
Sunday, April 25, 2010 Noon Reverse singles, followed by doubles
Fans can tune in to the webcasts by visiting www.tenniscanada.com and clicking on the Fed Cup link. A newly designed microsite will be launched featuring results, photos, player profiles, human-interest stories, blogs and more. The site will be available on Wednesday following the official team announcements. The webcast will be displayed in Flash utilizing cutting edge technology from global streaming provider NetroMedia.