Historically never a tennis power, Canada has a lot to cheer for in 2011 with the breakthroughs of players Rebecca Marino on the women’s side and Milos Raonic on the men’s.
Both are physically imposing players — Marino stands at 6-foot, while Raonic looks somewhat like a tennis lab’s Dr. Frankenstein creation, a 14-year-old’s head and torso placed upon the legs and arms of a giant at 6-foot-5. He will grow into the body, but the legs let him cover the entire court, and the arms the entire net. You have to think he is not done growing. And he has that pigeon-toed walk, seen on really good movers like Andre Agassi.
Later today (Saturday) Marino will take on Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova in the Cellular South Cup women’s final in Memphis. In the semifinals the No. 6-seeded Canadian defeated Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-1 in the third after losing the first set in a tiebreak.
Marino has also been blogging for the WTA website during the week.
“During my match I had to take a medical time out for my left ab,” Marino wrote after her semifinal. “The trainer asked me if I needed to go off court for the treatment or if I wanted to stay on court. Since it wasn’t necessary to go off court (in my opinion) I stayed so she could treat me there. So if you were watching the match you got an extra little “side show” by seeing a sneak peek at my stomach. I hope my pasty white tummy didn’t blind you; it’s almost translucent it’s so pale! The reason it’s so white? I don’t go tanning, so most of my skin never sees the light of day!”
After last week winning his first ATP title at San Jose, this afternoon Raonic beat Mardy Fish 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the Memphis final. Only breaking on the scene last month at the Australian Open by reaching the round of 16, Raonic seemingly has no weaknesses. His serve is a monster. He batters forehand and two-handed backhand winners from the back court, and has variety with a slice backhand that is at his height is like playing ping pong. He is aggressive and doesn’t hesitant to push in and end the point at the net. His return of serve is big. His volley is solid. He hammered 23 aces on Fish. This kid is a nightmare for anyone he faces. Ask Top 10er Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, who lost to Raonic in the San Jose finals, then lost to him again a couple days later in the first round at Memphis.
Raonic will play either Andy Roddick or Juan Martin Del Potro in the Memphis final. Raonic and Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor give Canadian Davis Cup a lot to cheer aboot.
If you are a Canadian tennis fan the future is looking bright.
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