Baseball excitement in Montreal is palpable this weekend with the Toronto Blue Jays in town for a pair of exhibition games, and the ongoing speculation surrounding the return of a professional team to la belle province.
That got us thinking, what was the tennis world like back when the Expos were still playing out of Montreal. Here’s a quick look back at 2004:
One of the things that makes Roger Federer’s recent resurgence so remarkable is that 13 years ago the Swiss superstar was on top of the world ending 2004 as the men’s number one player on the planet.
On the women’s side American Lindsay Davenport topped the charts as the year came to a close.
The relationship between tennis and baseball runs deep, especially in Montreal. Rogers Cup is played at Uniprix Stadium, on the grounds of the Expos’ original home at Jarry Park. In 2004, Amélie Mauresmo of France won the singles title in Montreal defeating her Russian opponent Elena Likhovtseva 6-1, 6-0.
In Toronto, who else could be crowned Rogers Cup king but the indomitable Federer? He defeated Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-3 on his way to winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Canada.
No look back to the early days of this century can be complete without wondering what Canadian doubles specialist and Olympic champion Daniel Nestor was doing.
In 2004 Nestor ended the year tied for first place in the ATP doubles rankings. In that same year, he won five doubles titles, including one at the US Open with his partner Mark Knowles. Although he was unable to defend his Olympic doubles title at Athens 2004 that year, his ‘legend’ status in Canadian tennis was solidly secured.
Marie-Ève Pelletier was the top Canadian women’s player on tour in 2004, finishing the year 148th.
On the men’s side long-time loyal national team servant Frank Dancevic was carrying the maple leaf on tour ending the year at no. 171.
While 2004 was a bitter summer for baseball fans in Montreal, the grass in Wimbledon brought sweet success to Maria Sharapova, who won the first of her five career Grand Slams that year. Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium took the Australian Open title in a year where she also won Olympic gold in women’s singles. Russians dominated the slams there on out with Anastasia Myskina (Roland Garros) and Svetlana Kuzentsova (US Open) sandwiching Sharapova’s triumph.
In men’s play Federer dominated with three of four slams, only Roland Garros escaping him with Gaston Gaudio of Argentina lifting the title in France.
Feature photo: Tennis Canada paid tribute to legendary Expos catcher Gary Carter during the 2012 Rogers Cup shortly after his passing. For the occasion, Eugenie Bouchard, wearing a Carter jersey, hit a few balls out of the stadium with a baseball bat following her first round win.