After winning bronze together at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto this summer, Philippe Bedard and Joel Dembe will go down as one of the best pairs in Canadian wheelchair tennis history.
Longtime doubles teammates, Bedard and Dembe accomplished a lot together over the past few years. And due to Dembe’s subsequent retirement from the sport after the Games, their time on court as a regular team is now over.
This makes it a perfect time to look back at some of their best moments. Here is what Bedard and Dembe both shared were their favourite memories as a team:
Parapan Am Games
Unsurprisingly, both Bedard and Dembe selected winning the bronze medal at the Parapan Am Games as their top memory together.
Dembe: “I remember raising my arms and looking up in the sky and going ‘oh my god I can’t believe that just happened’. I got this tremendous sense of pride in what we just accomplished.”
Bedard: “For me it was such a great moment, I was in tears right away. I thought almost instantly that it was a miracle winning bronze after spending two months in bed for an injury. I had to battle through so much to be on this court and to give our team a chance for a medal. It was great to win and to celebrate with Joel.”
London 2012 Paralympic Games
Making their Paralympic debut in London was again a common No. 2 pick for both athletes, with Dembe saying that ‘wheeling out at Olympic Stadium’ was an unforgettable moment. It was the first Paralympic Games for both players.
2013 Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge
Dembe specifically calls out a match he and Bedard played two years ago at the Cajun Classic, a popular ITF 1 Series tournament in Louisiana.
“We were down three match points in a third-set super tiebreaker against our rivals from Brazil and we ended up winning the last four points to clinch the match. It was late at night and after we won we went to McDonalds!”
Winning nationals for the first time
Bedard and Dembe captured four straight men’s doubles national championships from 2011 to 2014 and Dembe names the first time they won together as a memorable moment. The year prior, the fairly new team had finished as runner-up and 2011 was the beginning of their domination in Canadian wheelchair tennis.
Every super tiebreaker they ever played
According to Dembe, he and Bedard regularly needed more than two sets to finish a match – it was always ‘here we go again’ every time the extra points were required.
“Every time we went to a third-set super tiebreaker which seems like every single time we played together. We played so many super tiebreakers, but the good thing is we won most of them. I’d say the super tiebreaker against Chile in Puerto Rico last year, against Brazil in Montreal last year, and against team USA in basically 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014!”
Travelling around the world
Bedard had trouble picking any other specific moments, and so summed it up like this:
“Moments three, four and five for sure are our trips around the world. Me and Joel on tour, going to good restaurants, drinking some good wine after the tournaments, and Joel driving me around in the car we rented, he was always my driver.”