I am back! If you were really hanging out for a dose of highly uneducated, highly biased opinions de la moi about tennis (along with some bad Franglais) then you have come to the right place.
And today we're talking about Canada. Firstly, I'd like to point out that I'm going to a conference there in May and I'm a bit excited about it. But that has nothing to do with tennis. And they appear to have a lot of that in Canada, all of a sudden.
Remember when Canadian tennis was all Daniel Nestor with a soupcon of Frank Rhythm-is-Dancevic, because I do. It was, like, six weeks ago. But since then, some kid named Milos Raonic has made the fourth round of the Australian Open, then two consecutive finals, won his first title, might win his second against Roddick, and has jumped over 140 places to be ranked #37 in the world. Oh, and he has something like 330 points to defend... for the rest of the year. Um, hello top 20. Like, next week.
Please, someone. Someone who watched Milos Raonic last year. What has he done? What has changed? What is the magic ingredient that's turned Raonic from a #150-odd-ranked journeyman into the next big thing? Between him and Sascha Dolgopolov, we seem to have the second coming of tennis right here.
I was determined not to jump on the Raonic bandwagon. Even now, his game - heavy on the aces - is not particularly appealing to me. But with the rocket ride he's taken up the rankings, it's pretty hard not to be on the wagon now. It's not even a wagon. It's some kind of eight-horse-powered alien invasion spaceship with jet thrusters that's trying to take over the world.
And Raonic isn't even the only Canadian who has taken a one way ride to awesometown. He's been the most meteoric, but following along quietly (but not that quietly) behind him is Rebecca Marino. I'd never heard of her before this year, but then went and pushed Francesca Schiavone all the way at the Australian Open and now she's in the Memphis final. And that is - well, that's just totally awesome. And she is a quality tweeter. Top ten. Easy.
I don't know how much credit Canada itself can claim for its sudden success, unless they put something in the water over off-season. But they have reason to be very proud of their young 'uns. Canada has suddenly - and quite unexpectedly - become a force to be reckoned with... at the Hopman Cup, if nowhere else!
2 months ago