Even people who don't follow tennis, who wouldn't know a half-volley from a topspin serve, know that winning a championship on the green lawns of that London suburb means that you've etched your name in tennis history.
On this Saturday, as we in this part of the world brace for whatever Hurricane Arthur has in store for us, across the pond, Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard is one win away from the glory that comes with a Wimbledon title.
Capturing a French Open, a U.S. Open or Australian Open would be cool enough (those are the other three Grand Slam events in tennis), but this is Wimbledon we're talking about, and a Canadian winning Wimbledon would be a huge deal for sports fans in this country. Until today, no Canadian had ever reached a Grand Slam singles final anywhere, and if she beats former Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova in the final, Bouchard will be remembered for a long, long time in the annals of Canadian sports.
Bouchard has much more than talent, the 20-year-old has a commodity that is priceless: she's fearless. She is also supremely confident, and takes no prisoners. That's the way all the greats play: when they have their foot on an opponent's throat, they don't ease up, they step harder. Monica Seles was all giggles and smiles when she played, but she used to steamroll opponents with no mercy. Chris Evert had an all-American girl next door image, but she also had an icy heart when she picked up a tennis racket.
Serena Williams? Same thing. Jimmy Connors? The fiercer the beating he put on somebody, the better he liked it. Pete Sampras - nice guy, quiet, but wanted you to fear him, didn't want you entertaining any thoughts of beating him.
If she stays healthy and hungry, Bouchard won't just win one major, she'll win a bunch of them (I hate to do this, I don't want to jinx her the way I jinxed the Toronto Blue Jays a few weeks back, when I hyped their offensive firepower just before their bats went ice-cold, but Bouchard is winning today, in straight sets. Bank it).
And wouldn't a Canuck Double-Double at Wimbledon be something?
On the men's side, Canadian Milos Raonic, as this is written, is getting set to play a semifinal against Roger Federer, arguably the greatest player in tennis history. Federer is not quite what he used to be, but he's still a force.
For Raonic to claim Wimbledon he would first have to beat Federer, then (most like) Novak Djokovic, who has won six Slams and been ranked No. 1 in the world a total of 101 weeks. It's do-able for Raonic, but doubtful.
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Stupid Money: It's a shame the Toronto Maple Leafs went through most of last season without the services of Dave Bolland, who would have been a very useful player on a team with too many useless ones.
That said, there's no way Bolland is worth $5.5 million a season, even if the Florida Panthers think otherwise. Bolland chased the money, and good for him in catching it, but five mill plus per year? See ya, Dave.
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@$:Pictou County native son Joey MacDonald is on the move again, having signed with the Montreal Canadiens. That would make the Canadiens the fourth Original Six franchise MacDonald has suited up for, after stops in Detroit, Boston and Toronto.
@$:He still has to make the Canadiens' roster come training camp, but he's been down that road before. Nothing is guaranteed for a hockey player, especially a journeyman, but if nothing else, MacDonald has persevered, and carved for himself a nice career under the bright lights of the National Hockey League. That would beat real work, any day.