Yukon’s tennis players won’t be competing for any medals at the Canada Summer Games this week.
Without any earned wins in the team competition, none qualified for the individual events in singles or doubles.
There were some losses to love for the Yukoners in Sherbrooke, but all the Yukoners loved the Games.
“I thought it was great. I’m so proud to be here and so happy we had the chance to come here,” said Yukon’s Gentianne Graham. “It’s true the rain was a little bit annoying, but once we got on court it was really fun.”
“It was really good. I like playing at sea level, it’s much easier to hit the ball for me,” added teammate Alex Roberts. “Sherbrooke has been great. The rooms are nice, the food is great, I’ve been playing well … and we’ve all been trying hard.”
Yukon faced some tough teams with some top-ranked players. They faced Ontario, which won silver in the team event at the 2009 Canada Games, to start on Saturday and later played British Columbia, which won bronze in 2009.
It was the largest tennis team Yukon ever sent to the Canada Games with six athletes taking to the courts. The territory only sent two to P.E.I. at the 2009 Games, including Kieran Halliday, who played doubles in what was his second Canada Games this week.
“It’s been great, it’s been fun meeting lots of people,” said Halliday. “I’m a little disappointed with my personal result in tennis. The team did great, but I wish I had done a little better. That’s how it goes sometimes. I tried my best, nothing to regret.
I’m just looking forward to my next week here.”
Halliday, who was Yukon’s flag-bearer during the Games’ opening ceremony on Friday, is one of just two athletes on Team Yukon competing in two sports at the Games. He is also on the athletics team and will race in the steeplechase next week.
He and doubles partner Khang Pham took a hard-fought 6-4, 6-2 loss to Manitoba on Monday.
Graham lost 7-5, 6-3 to P.E.I’s Helen Li in another close one.
Aline Halliday almost turned one around and made P.E.I.’s Mylene Petitpas earn the win in a 6-0, 7-5 loss.
“My match against P.E.I., that one was affected by the rain,” said Aline. “We started outside and I wasn’t getting warmed up or getting into the game and then it started raining and we moved inside for the second set and it ended up being much closer at 7-5 in the second set. I feel way more confident inside and I just felt better in the second set.
“It was really great to be here in Sherbrooke,” she added. “The only annoying thing was moving back and forth all the time because of the rain. We had to spend a lot of time waiting. But they were really good matches.”
Yukon did have one check in the win column at the Games. Ontario’s Gloria Liang forfeited a match to go compete in the qualifier for the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Gaining experience was a big part of the Games for the Yukon team. Roberts and teammate Ewan Halliday, who are 13- and 12-years-old, are eligible to compete again in 2017.
“I came to this tournament for experience, there were no real goals to win or get on the podium,” said Ewan, the youngest player at the Games. “I did get a lot of experience and it’s just been really fun overall.”
“I believe we can get the results and hopefully we prove it at the next Canada Games,” said Yukon head coach Jan Polivka. “This Canada Games, I think the kids did well. For us it’s important they were trying their best every time they were playing … If they try their best, the results will come at some point.
“Considering the experience we have and the skills we have, I think the kids did really, really well,” he added. “We will be way stronger when we come back next time. You see it in volleyball, those guys proved that we can.”
(The Yukon men’s volleyball team became the first from the territory to defeat a province in Canada Games history on Sunday with a win over P.E.I.)
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