Wednesday, 12 November 2014 19:00

2013 Syl Apps Award - Milos Raonic

In 2013, Thornhill's son Milos Raonic rode his rocket serve to become the ATP's 10th ranked men's singles player. No Canadian man ever ranked higher. Raonic ranked 11th at season's end.

Two victories supported Raonic's rise. He won the Pacific Coast Championships in February, defeating Tommy Haas in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. In September, Raonic beat Tomas Berdych 7-6(4), 6-3 at the Thailand Open. Both victories were on hard courts. Raonic also reached the finals at both the Canadian Open, falling to Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-2, and at the Japan Open, where he lost to Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(5), 7-5.

2013 also saw Raonic lead an unseeded Canadian team into the Davis Cup World Group semi-finals. Canada's tournament began in Vancouver, where Canada beat the top-ranked team from Spain before a rowdy, supportive crowd. Canada eventually lost to 4th-seeded Serbia, anchored by world #1 Novak Djokovic, 3-2 on a slow clay court in Belgrade. This was only the 6th time Canada reached the World Group, and represents the nation's furthest advance in Davis Cup play. A century earlier, in 1913, Canadians reached the semifinal when the tournament was known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge.

Sunday, 30 March 2014 20:00

Carling Bassett-Seguso

At age 11, Carling moved to Florida to train at the fabled Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and from there, she began her ascent to fame. She captured the under-18 crown in the Orange Bowl junior event in Miami at age 15 in 1981 and turned pro a few months later. Although slight and physically unimposing, Bassett posted two major career highlights and both involved American sweetheart Chris Evert. In the first highlight match, the WTA championships in 1984 in Amelia Island, Fla., Bassett lost 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 but not before throwing a scare into Evert and the tennis world at large, especially the U.S. television audience. Bassett led world No. 2-ranked Evert 4-2 in the third set before Evert rallied.

"I didn’t think you were that good," NBC-TV’s Bud Collins said to Bassett in a post-match chat. "Neither did I," Bassett replied. In the same year at the U.S. Open, Bassett reached the semi-finals after beating Czech Hana Mandlikova in the quarter-finals. Evert proved to be her nemesis again. "The two times that I played Carling in the U.S. Open, I knew I would be in for a tough match," Evert told this writer in an interview. "Carling was feisty and very crafty. She had excellent ground strokes and could stay out there longer than most players. She had a great heart and mind. She was great at moving the ball around and was an excellent competitor."

Bassett was ranked No. 8 in the world in 1985 and twice, she was a quarter-finalist in the French Open and she made it to the quarters of the Australian Open. Needless to say, she was the best female tennis player produced in Canada. She became Canadian national champion at 14 and was ranked No. 1 in our fine country from 1982-86, the year her father media/sports mogul John F. Bassett died of a brain tumour. She stopped competing professionally in 1990.

Since 1987, she has been married to former U.S. tennis doubles star Robert Seguso. They have three children and live in Boca Raton.

Published in 2003 Inductees