After a three year hiatus, it was wonderful to have the Canadian Amateur Championships back in their rightful place at the end of a cold and snowy January.
There was a great turn out for the tournament with participants from all US clubs, as well as particularly large number of Queens club players, descending on the ‘Mecca of Rackets’ for an amazing fiesta of Rackets. With Wednesday’s British Airways flight cancelled, many of the brits flew in on Tuesday, making this year’s tournament a marathon event, with the hangovers starting to hit as early as Wednesday morning it was a fast start for many.
The weekend went without a hitch, on court the matches ran like clockwork, A rare treat for those scheduled late on Friday night. Off court patrons were treated to 5-star service all weekend and the championship cocktails did not stop flowing. Thursday’s stag dinner was one of the most well attended in recent times with a raucous dining room bursting at the seams. We’d like to say a big thank you to everybody who helped organize and host, it would not have been such a fantastic tournament without your efforts.
Despite a couple of late injury withdrawals from some of our top seeds, the level of play was terrific and those in the gallery on Sunday were treated to two blockbuster matches.
In the singles, Can-Am debutant Will Annettes (seed 2) reached the final without dropping a single game. This set up a hotly anticipated match against top seed Mark Farmiloe, who himself overcame a spirited semifinal performance from another Can-Am debutant, Julius Manton-Jones (3-1). The match was as tight as they come and after two games the score line truly could have been anything. Both players came from behind to share the opening two games and sit level at 1-1. The 3rd and 4th games were equally as close but Annett’s eventually held his nerve to take the match (10-15, 15-10, 15-13, 18-16).
As good as the first final was, the real drama however came in the doubles. 2-0 up and cruising, Will Annetts and Julius Manton-Jones looked certain of victory. Jules in particular was fired up and looked completely unplayable at times. That was until the Montreal Racket Club’s very own Steven Chamandy stepped into the service box. Serving 14/15 points needed to force a 4th game, Steve was not going down without a fight. Spurred on by his partners resilience, Mark Farmiloe found a new lease of life in the 4th and the top seeds were able to build some momentum and force a deciding game. With the gallery in disbelief at how this match had not finished yet, the final game was indeed the closest of all.
Heading to extra points, the match really could have swung either way however, Mark and Steve were able to complete their fairytale comeback, taking the final game 18-16. Emotions ran high for both teams after the match with Mark even claiming it to be ‘his best moment on a rackets court’ It truly was one of the biggest turn arounds I have ever seen live in this sport. A true pleasure to watch.