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  • Sampras recalls 1995 Canadian Open final versus Agassi

    Pete Sampras in Toronto 2002 (The Canadian Press)Pete Sampras in Toronto 2002 (The Canadian Press)

    Pete Sampras won just about everything in his illustrious 14-year professional tennis career.

    He was victorious seven times at Wimbledon, took home five U.S. Open championships and also captured two Australian Open titles - not to mention the various tournaments that lead up to these Grand Slams

    Aside from the obvious void, a French Open title, another tour stop where Sampras never came out on top is the Canadian Open.

    However, his lone finals appearance in Montreal 18 years ago was notable in that he faced his biggest adversary - Andre Agassi.

    At the time, Agassi was his fiercest competition for the No. 1 ranking in the world. In those years, it was the most hotly contested rivalry in the sport, and it stands as one of the greatest of all time.

    Friday, prior to hitting centre court at Rexall Centre where he took on fellow American James Blake as part of the Rogers Legends Cup exhibition, "The King of Swing", who will soon turn 42, hearkened back to 1995, a year in which he and

    Read More »from Sampras recalls 1995 Canadian Open final versus Agassi
  • (Getty)

    11 and 12-year-old little leaguers from Victoria B.C. to Halifax, N.S. share summer dreams of being on the team that gets the privilege to wear the red and white uniforms with 'CANADA' proudly emblazoned across the chest and play on the perfectly manicured ballfields of Williamsport, Pa. in front sold-out crowds and an international television audience.

    For most, that dream never comes close to becoming reality, finding a spot on the shelf next to being a music star or a motion picture sensation, but young ballplayers from British Columbia have reason to awaken from their perfect game and walkoff home run-themed slumber with stronger sense of optimism than their compatriots.

    The White Rock 11 and 12-year-old all-stars are the latest group from B.C. to impress on the national stage. White Rock finished the round robin at the Canadian Little League Championship in Glace Bay, N.S. a perfect 6-0 and outscored opponents 41-15, exhibiting a level of professionalism that's come to be expected from B.C. baseball.

    Read More »from White Rock continuing British Columbia’s reign of dominance at Canadian Little League Championship
  • Milos Raonic vs. Vasek Pospisil at the Rogers Cup on Saturday. (The Canadian Press)

    Anybody who tells you they saw this coming is plainly and simply a liar.

    For the first time since 1958, there will be a Canadian man in the final of the country's national tennis open. Even in Tennis Canada's wildest dreams, it likely didn't foresee this possibility.

    Thanks to a bit of luck and a lot of tough-minded tennis, Canadians Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil will play in the semifinal of the Rogers Cup on Saturday. That assures a Canadian presence in the final for the first time since Robert Bedard won the event (then called the Canadian Open) in 1958. In fact, the last time a Canadian man made it even as far as the semifinals was in 1969 when Mike Belkin did it.

    While he wouldn't admit to predicting this possibility, former Canadian pro Grant Connell says it shouldn't come as a total surprise.

    "I think that we as Canadian tennis players and the tennis community should expect these sort of results from our players," said Connell, who joined Andrew Sznajder as the last Canadian men

    Read More »from Oh Canada! There will be a homegrown player in Rogers Cup final
  • Feliciano Lopez from Spain lunges for the ball during his match against Ernests Gulbis from Latvia at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal Monday Aug. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

    Getting bounced early from the Rogers Cup men's tournament may no longer mean taking the next plane to Cincinnati.

    In fact, starting from this season onward, you might even get to go to the women's tournament for some extra practice time and also pocket a few more bucks while you're at it.

    Feliciano Lopez and Bernard Tomic, both in the top 50 of the world rankings on the ATP Tour, faced each other in an exhibition on Thursday night in Toronto. They lost in the first round in Montreal just a few short days ago but volunteered for the match at Rexall Centre which carried with it a cash incentive.

    On Wednesday, Damien Cox of the Toronto Star reported that all first-round losers in Montreal were offered $20,000 plus expenses for the friendly. That's not to shabby considering the take-home for a first-round win in men's singles is just under half of that amount at $9,695.

    "We knew during the week of Montreal about this idea," said Lopez, who was genuinely happy to be able to take part in

    Read More »from The boys are back in town – Men play exhibition matches at Rogers Cup in Toronto
  • (Getty)

    TORONTO – Canada's senior men's basketball team battled past Jamaica 81-72 on Thursday night at Ryerson's Mattamy Athletic Centre at Maple Leaf Gardens. Levon Kendall led all scorers with 21 points and Brady Heslip had 18 points and shot 4/7 from three.

    With centre Joel Anthony out of the lineup, Triano paired Tristan Thompson and Andrew Nicholson together in the front court. Jamaica's Samardo Samuels and Adrian Uter provided a rugged and aggressive introduction to the physical nature of international basketball. Thompson finished the game with 4 points on 2/9 shooting while Nicholson scored 9 points and went 4/12 from the field. It's all part of the learning experience for two NBA players adjusting to a new set of rules and a unfamiliar style of play.

    “When we play overseas, when we play in South America that’s the way the game is. You could see that Tristan [Thompson] and Andrew [Nicholson] were a little frustrated because they’re not used to that but that’s why we’re playing these exhibition games. So they can get a chance to play these international games and understand the physicality is a little bit different than they’re used to," said head coach Jay Triano.

    Read More »from Canada beats Jamaica 81-72 in first game of Jack Donohue Classic
  • (The Canadian Press)

    Phil Scrubb is one of a kind at team Canada's senior men's basketball training camp in Toronto this week. It's not where he's from or how he plays that makes him unique but rather where he plays.

    Scrubb is the lone active CIS player participating in camp and he's absolutely deserving of his spot. He possesses distinct on-ball poise, sharp off-ball instincts, and a general smooth demeanor and style of play that he developed while starring in high school at Vancouver College in Vancouver, B.C., and took to the next level during three years of near-unparalleled success at Carleton in Ottawa.

    His inclusion in the 17-player training camp is a more-than satisfying reward for the two-time CIS player of the year.

    “I didn’t expect to come here and then coach Triano called [to invite me to camp]. I’m really excited for the opportunity. Getting to play with NBA guys and other pros, it’s a good way for me to improve," said Scrubb.

    In an age of 24/7 sports coverage where every winning or losing streak, coaching decision, missed call, and fabricated controversy du jour is analyzed to the umpteenth degree, Carleton's dominance goes largely unnoticed and uncovered.

    Read More »from Carleton’s Phil Scrubb a worthy representative of CIS at Canada Basketball camp
  • Dayne Greiner had the chance to meet Sidney Crosby in Halifax. (Kellie Greiner)Kellie Greiner describes it as an escape, even if it was only for a few days.

    In early July, less than two weeks after their house in Calgary was ravaged by floods, the Greiner’s – Kellie, her husband Todd and their three sons Cayd, 16, Ty, 14 and Dayne, 10 – were given a unique opportunity by Dean McIntosh, Dayne’s former hockey coach who works as the director of marketing services for Hockey Canada.

    The family was on the way up to their newly-bought cabin in Saskatchewan when McIntosh called Kellie and told her that a hockey player between the ages of 10 and 12 who was affected by the floods was going to have a chance to film a commercial for Sport Check.

    He wondered if Dayne would be interested.

    “I said ‘Oh he would be thrilled.’ Then he said that [the commercial] would be filmed in Halifax and our whole family could go,” Kellie Greiner said in a telephone interview.

    Finally, McIntosh gave Kellie the piece of news that would likely excite her son more so than a four-day trip to

    Read More »from Calgary family reflects on devastating flood and their unique experience with Sidney Crosby
  • There was Billie Jean King, freshly inducted into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame, expounding on one of the greatest regrets of her life: that she quit the game of tennis too soon.

    ``You know, I was taught to go out on top," the tennis great said Wednesday. ``I did. It was a mistake."

    The fact that King exited stage left 30 years ago and apparently still loses sleep over that decision despite a pretty successful three decades gives you a pretty good idea of how difficult it is for pro athletes to choose the right time to depart the scene. As we have seen far too many times, the retirements often don't last and the comebacks seldom turn out well.

    The sad fact is that those decisions are reserved for a select few athletes, most of whom do not get to decide when they go gently into that good night. The vast majority of pro athletes are told when to leave and usually asked not to let the door hit them on the way out.

    Then they are reincarnated as TV analysts or either show up on late-night TV as

    Read More »from Retirement no easy decision for even the best athletes
  • TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 06: Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Martina Hingis of Switzerland share a laugh after their doubles matchduring day 2 of the Rogers Cup Toronto at Rexall Centre at York University on August 6, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    TORONTO - If you're a tennis fan, it's easy to get nostalgic this week walking around the Rexall Centre. Monica Seles, Billie Jean King and Pete Sampras have made appearances on the site of the 2013 Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament. Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Andy Roddick will be in the big smoke on Sunday for a legends event.

    Oh yes, and Martina Hingis is in the house.

    The Swiss Miss has rejoined the WTA Tour after a six-year absence. Hingis first retired from tennis in 2002 due to an ankle injury and then stepped away from the court again in 2007. While many attempted to coax the winner of nine Grand Slam doubles titles (along with five Grand Slam singles championships) to rejoing the tour, it was Slovakian Daniela Hantuchkova who apparently found the right words and had great timing. Hingis, who'll turn 33 next month, was coaching at the Paris-based Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, when Hantuchkova convinced her to come back.

    "Tennis is missing somebody like Martina and her game

    Read More »from For Martina Hingis, it’s doubles or nothing for her on the WTA Tour now
  • Fans hold giant pictures of Eugenie Bouchard of Canada while she plays Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during their women's singles match of the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto, August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

    TORONTO - While she was hoping for a longer run on her home courts, Eugenie Bouchard has a lot to take away from her time at the 2013 Rogers Cup.

    "It's always tough losing," Bouchard said after her second-round exit. "But you learn more when you lose than when you win, I think."

    The 19-year-old from Westmount Que., lost in straight sets (3-6, 2-6) to powerful Czech adversary Petra Kvitova who ranks No. 7 in the world. Kvitova now moves on to the third round in an attempt to defend the title she captured in Montreal a year ago.

    Bouchard, who was coming off a strong performance at Wimbledon, was under the spotlight entering the tournament. Such is the case when you're a Canadian and the Rogers Cup represents your biggest stage on which to shine in your homeland.

    "It's not many weeks during the year where I get the full crowd support," Bouchard said, "so when I do, I always enjoy it and try to use it to my advantage."

    Some fans in the crowd at centre court showed their support Wednesday by

    Read More »from Eugenie Bouchard gets some net gains from her second-round loss at the 2013 Rogers Cup


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