It seems Canada has tennis fever as Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic make history at Wimbledon.
On Thursday, Bouchard locked up a spot in the final at the All England Club, becoming the first Canadian singles player to vie for a Grand Slam title. Raonic has a chance to advance himself on Friday, but will have to get through Switzerland's Roger Federer.
Win or lose, Tennis Canada's Vice President of Tennis Development says there is reason to be excited about Canada's young players.
"Genie is so poised, and courageous, and aggressive and has such a great game style, and just really believes in herself," gushes Hatem McDadi. Raonic, he says has "one of the best serves in the world, a very explosive, powerful game". What's more he says is both are "really good people", articulate, intelligent and thoughtful when speaking publicly.
Tennis Canada expects to see "the Milos and Genie effect" when it counts how many Canadians play the sport later this year.
McDadi says tennis has "grown exponentially" over the last five years. In 2008, 4 million Canadians said they had picked up a racket at least once that year. By 2012, the figure was up to 5.1 million. He attributes much of the growth to megawatt, international stars like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Serena Williams. Howard Park Tennis Club's head tennis pro Ben Armstrong says they have had a waiting list for membership for most of the last decade.
Now with some fresh Canadian faces winning big, McDadi says would-be tennis novices are being inspired not to play, but to dream big.
"The parents and kids are saying 'if they can do it', we can do it."
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