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Home   News   Quad comradery, the Vancouver Canucks, and a 17-year-old upstart: Quotes from semifinal Saturday at Birmingham nationals

Quad comradery, the Vancouver Canucks, and a 17-year-old upstart: Quotes from semifinal Saturday at Birmingham nationals

Oct 29, 2016
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada
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It was another thrilling day at the courts as the semifinals took over the Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships on Saturday. Here are just a few of the best quotes, to give you an idea of how the day shook out!

Tomas Bourassa

There were plenty of cheers in the crowd as local favourite Tomas Bourassa pulled off a huge triumph in a remarkable three hours and two minutes to make the final. A day earlier, the 17-year-old junior was just happy about making the championship draw and playing the ‘big names’.

How does he feel about not only beating one of the big names but becoming one of the big names himself?  

“It’s exciting. I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I’m still just a 17-year-old kid who plays tennis. It’s kind of neat to know that I can play at that level.”

On what was going on his mind at 6-1 in the third-set tiebreaker (he gave up a 6-1 lead before winning 8-6):

I was just trying to stay focused. I could see that I was almost there, but I was trying to keep myself in the moment … to avoid what happened. It didn’t really help that much I guess!

On playing Philippe Bedard in the final:

“I just want to have fun. It’s my first time playing Philippe, I’ve wanted to play him for years just to see how I compare. Now is my opportunity, and I’ll see how I do.”

Philippe Bedard

Bedard finished his match just before Bourassa, and stayed in the doorway to the courts to watch the end of the long duel, scouting an opponent he is not too familiar with just yet.

Bedard on making the final and facing Bourassa:

“It feels good, that was the objective coming here. I’m very happy to play Tomas, it’ll be my first match against him. I saw him play today, that’s it. I’m ready, he looks like a mini-Joel [Dembe, Bedard’s now-retired former doubles partner].”

Maude jacques

Quebec’s Maudes Jacques, and the tournament’s defending champion, was the first to make the women’s final. Here’s what she had to say about her potential opponents.

Jacques on the second semifinal match, which was just starting:

“I think it’s going to be really good match, and if there wasn’t a Canucks game tonight I’d probably be watching it. I’m excited to play whoever wins.”

So … going to the Canucks game is how you’re preparing for the final?

[Laughs] “Yes, this is how I’m preparing for the final, I’m still going to be eating really healthy!”

Rob Shaw

After pulling off wins to make the final, both Sarah Hunter and Rob Shaw spoke about the closeness of the quad team.

Shaw on the relationship between the top quad players:

“It’s tough when you go to nationals because you are playing against teammates, against friends. You have to do your best to separate that. We all do a pretty good job of that on court. It’s always tough, but as long as we all play well, none of us will be upset with the result. On the global scale, we are a team and we want to push each other.”

Hunter on how Shaw and Gary Luker have motivated her:

“I really love being their teammates and that’s been a motivation for me to play in nationals here and be in game shape to represent Canada in World Team Cup. It’s a nice environment, you don’t often get a team environment in tennis, and I feel like I have that at tournaments when the boys are there.”

And now, the two teammates are prepping to close out their 2016 nationals versus each other. Shaw commented on the incredible experience and skills of Hunter, who is Canada’s highest-ranked wheelchair tennis player ever with a career-high world No. 2 standing.

Shaw on playing Hunter in the final:

“She’s a top quality player. She’s a competitor, she loves the sport, she hits a hard ball and one of the best serves on tour. In the last few years, with injuries and family, she’s taken a back seat but any given match she can flip the switch on. When her shots are on, no one can get to them. It’s going to be a good match, hopefully we can put a good show on for everyone. As long as we’re both playing well, I think we’ll both be happy with the result no matter what. She’s been on top of the game in Canada for longer than I’ve been playing so it’s a legend versus maybe the new face of it at some point I hope.”

Sarah Hunter 2016

Hunter has been dealing with a back injury for much of the past couple seasons, and so wasn’t necessarily expecting to make the final, but says she is quite happy with the result.

On recovering for the final:

“I’ll be fine. Just the sheer enjoyment I get out of playing and competing will be enough for me to be able to compete tomorrow and I can put it all aside for a couple of hours and just grit my teeth at times.”