Photo Credit: Getty Images
Canadian tennis players continue to reach new heights on the professional tour. This could be the headline that is repeated every month in 2014. The history-tying efforts of Eugenie Bouchard at the 2014 Australian Open started the year off with a BOOM. I had no idea (and I’m probably quite sure that not a lot of other people had much of an inkling) that that event was just the beginning of a torrent of success for a large swath of Canadian tennis players in 2014. I continue to write in my blog articles this now familiar refrain that starts with: “I never thought I’d live to see the day…” or “I never thought in my lifetime that…” Just fill in the blanks with any of the success that Canadian tennis players have had in 2014. I have lived through the doldrums of the dark days of Canadian tennis in the 1990s and well into the 2000s and to see the results that are being put up by Canadian tennis players now is simply both hard to believe and satisfying beyond belief.
The latest historic milestone occurred at the Citi Open (formerly the Legg Mason Classic) in Washington, D.C. in early August 2014. The 500 series ATP event was the first time in modern tennis history that two Canadian men played in the final of an ATP tennis tournament. This was a momentous occasion. Any real fan of today’s tennis scene could have seen this coming. In fact, any watcher of Canadian tennis could have seen this coming if they had paid attention to Raonic and Pospisil when they were just starting out. Below is one of the coolest images I have found of the two of them together in the very early stages of their careers, playing together in the 2008 French Open junior doubles.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Myles
Two years later they were playing doubles together again – this time in the 2010 Canadian Open (Rogers Cup) against two of the hottest players on the planet, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Raonic and Pospisil won by the way. Even back then, you could tell that they had the “it” factor. It manifested itself in the way they played the game and the way they carried themselves on the court: confident, mature, reserved, hungry and talented.
Photo Credit: Frank Gunn/CP
To find the two of them in the final of a pro tennis tournament (not a junior tennis event, a pro-level 1st tier ITF event, or a 2nd level Challenger event, but an honest-to-goodness pro Tour ATP 500 event) is so not surprising. It’s fantastic, but it’s not surprising. The same could be said for their semi-final appearance together at the 2013 Canadian Open (Rogers Cup). It was inevitable considering the talent that they have and the upswing that both of them are experiencing in their careers.
In the end, Raonic prevailed again in Washington. Being close to the Canadian border (opposed to the deep southeast or southwest of the US) the stands were littered with Canadians cheering on both players. It was a great atmosphere. Due to a variety of reasons, scenarios and circumstances, Raonic has the early upper hand in their encounters (I don’t want to say rivalry, because it isn’t. Two matches do not make a rivalry). But as I have often said before, Pospisil has so much talent and there is a lot to like about him and his game. In the end, he has all the goods to go far in professional tennis – even farther than what Raonic may achieve. There second encounter will not be the last; in fact, it will only be their second of many more and hopefully more of them will be finals.
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