Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Tennis, Anyone?

That was a very common expression in the Sixties. I can neither tell you its roots, nor its true meaning. But I do love the game, and I am more than happy to write about it.

Rafael Nadal won the French Open last weekend, for the tenth time! None of the great players from the past has come close to that total. One of the main reasons that he has done so well at the French has to do with the surface of the court. The courts at Roland Garros are based on clay. Players slide back and forth across the court, chasing shots. One commentator indicated that no one has ever understood clay courts as Nadal does. He hit many forhand and backhand winners right to the corners, often smudging the tape.

The Australian Open and the U. S. Open are played on hard surfaces. Wimbledon is played on grass. Understandably, balls bounce differently on each surface. Players often tap their sneakers in a manner similar to a batter approaching home plate to clean the bottom of their shoes. Clay courts generally play much “slower” than the hard courts. Players tend to play from the base line, whereas on the hard courts there is more “serve and volley” tactics.

Nadal's opponent in the final was Stan Wawrinka from Switzerland. Stan was exhausted after his semi-final victory over Andy Murray. It was a five set affair that went on for several hours. Nadal, on the other hand, breezed into the final, and easily disposed of Wawrinka in three straight sets: 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. There was a major upset in the women's singles' final as Simona Halep fell to her unseeded opponent Jelena Ostapenko, from Latvia. Halep won the first set 6-4, then dropped the next two 6-4, 6-3.

Nadal has victories in 15 major tournaments, one more than Pete Sampras. Roger Federer has won 18 major titles, and is still playing very well. They could conceivably meet at Wimbledon.

Gabriela Dabrowski, a Canadian player from Ottawa, won the mixed doubles title with her partner Rohan Bopanna. She is the first Canadain woman to win a major title. Quite an accomplishment! Previously, her best finish in a major event was an advancement to thr third round at the Australian Open in 2015. They lost the first set, but went on to take the title, winning 12-10 in the fianl set.
Three Canadian men have won doubles titles: Daniel Nestor, Sebastien Laureau, and Vasek Pospisil. No Canadian has ever won a singles event in a major championship.

The Toronto Blue Jays returned home from their west coast trip with more victories than they normally have on those tough coastal trips. Canadian fans showed up in big numbers in Seattle to add support. They began a five game home stand last night at the Rogers Centre.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captured their second consecutive Stanley Cup on Sunday night. There was a disputed goal called back on the Predators. But the official had lost sight of the puck, he had blown the whistle, and that was all she wrote. Sidney Crosby continued his stellar play, winning the trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Hia name should be mentioned in the top ten best players ever. He is that good.

And the Golden State Warriors returned home Monday night to continue the series with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game, set, match. That is now finished for another year.

James Hurst
June 13, 2017

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