My Wimbledon dreams

It’s the perfect storm.

The Wimbledon tennis championship is into its final days; two Canadians are still in contention, and I am going to be in London!

Eugenie Bouchard has clinched her spot in the finals of the Wimbledon Women’s championship, a first ever in the open era. Milos Raonic, another Canadian, attempts to replicate Bouchard’s success on the men’s side by trying to win his semi-final match against Roger Federer, who has beaten him in his past four encounters. Federer, a seven-time championship winner, has been vulnerable lately.

A Raonic win is not inconceivable. Canadian tennis is indeed on the upswing.

So it felt logical that I look for tickets to the Wimbledon finals.

I had no illusions. Tickets would not come cheap if they were available at all. I had missed the ballot. I had no plans to camp outside Wimbledon grounds to be part of the “queue” in hopes of getting a ticket on the day of the game.

Wimbledon Tickets - last minute prices

That left me with Ticket master.

What the heck! It’s not every day that I can boast of having been to the centre court on Wimbledon.

Making sure that I was not redirected to a scalper’s site, I explored my options, credit card at the ready. I knew that I had to move quickly to grab two of the remaining eight seats. I clicked “buy” to see the price of the tickets. I did a double take! £7,810 for two tickets? Quick mental math told me that is over $13,000 in US dollars.

Clearly, above my snack bracket!

As I pondered my back up plan, it occurred to me that England has not had a lot to cheer about lately. Early exit from the FIFA World Cup and Andy Murray’s defeat at Wimbledon quarter-finals have not helped. Perhaps it’s time for the Brits to pick their next favourites – the Canadians.

After all, we still pledge our allegiance to the Queen!

Surfing the web for a tennis-friendly sports bar in London….

Canadian tennis is on the upswing; what about squash?

The highest world ranking ever achieved by a Canadian tennis player is No. 9. The highest world ranking achieved by a Canadian squash player is No. 1. Canadian tennis is on the upswing while Canadian squash has some work to do. Eugenie Bouchard - Canadian tennis

For the first time in Canadian tennis history, two Canadians reached the quarter-finals of a tennis grand slam tournament – the 2014 French Open. As Milos Raonic went down fighting against the second seeded Novak Djokovic and Eugenie Bouchard clawed her way past Spain’s Suarez Navarro to reach her second consecutive grand slam semi-final, an obvious question comes to mind – Can a Canadian win a tennis grand slam title?

It is possible. A Canadian tennis grand slam champion is no longer a pipe dream!

So what is happening in tennis that is not happening in Canadian squash?

Eugenie Bouchard currently ranked twelfth in the world and Milos Raonic, ranked ninth, have helped revive interest in Canadian tennis that has been missing for a while. Squash has no equivalent. The PSA rankings show Shawn Delierre, the highest ranked Canadian squash player, sitting at No. 74 while Samantha Cornett, ranked at No.30 on WSA’s list, is the highest ranked female squash player from Canada.

Not ideal!

Historically speaking, Daniel Nestor was the only one getting any limelight among Canadian tennis fans. Despite eighty-five career titles and $11 million in earnings, Nestor is not exactly what you would call a household name. But, now we have fresh blood; the game is back on track.

Clearly, it has to do with money.

The top ranked squash player in the world – Nick Matthew – earned just over $300,000 in 2013. The ninety second ranked tennis player Michael Russell made over $200,000 during the same period taking his career earnings to over $2 Million. Unfortunately, squash players trying to make a living playing the sport have to content with the fact that they may need a real job to support themselves past their competing days.

Melanie Jans, shown in the video below, is a perfect example! Melanie who was ranked as high as No.25 in the world, joined Club Meadowvale as the head squash pro in 2012 .

So, can the love of the game alone get Canadian squash back to its glory days?


A video survey: Should there be lets in squash?

Squash players can sometimes be irrational. Should there be lets in squash

This is especially true when it comes to let calls. What one player claims as a definite let, appear to others as a fishing exercise.  Clearly, the issue is not confined to club squash. Many argue that until the game rids itself of lame lets, it will never gain the kind of media coverage and popularity it deserves. As the championship matches at Club Meadowvale wound down, I decided to have some fun and did a quick video survey of random squash players who were milling around at the club. I asked everyone one simple question – Should there be lets in squash?

Here’s what they said.

As you can see, each player has a different take on why lets should or should not be allowed in squash. Some had logic behind their choice; others, less so. The result was fairly even with the “no let” camp edging out the “yes” camp by one. This came as a surprise since the club has never offered a no-let format for the players in the house league matches or their round robin games.

Unlike a fight in ice hockey, an argument on the squash court is not considered entertainment by the spectators and the media. Referees taking the brunt of player frustrations – justified or otherwise – have been the norm and continues be so. Alan Thatcher of Squash Mad has written about this in a post titled “Why it’s time to address our refereeing system

Looking back at the survey, I tend to agree with Alan Glen. The no-let format should be left to professional squash players.

Perhaps I should have asked “

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