Tennis purists will tend to denounce the sudden death-deuce system, in which no advantage-point is played and a single point decides the game.
Although it worked in his favour, Team Yukon’s Keiran Halliday, 13, is no big fan of it either.
“I would have liked it to be two-point deuces,” said Halliday. “I didn’t have a choice, so I guess I made the best of it and it turned out pretty well.”
While most of the territory is looking to cycling and swimming as the Yukon’s best chance to medal at the Canada Summer Games taking place in PEI, Halliday was the first to produce a win, defeating NWT’s Ryan Weir 6-2, 6-4 Wednesday morning at Victoria Park in Charlottetown.
In the match, 10 games went to deuce with Halliday winning six, including one to give him the first set of the match.
“Every deuce you win is a game, so you have to win as many as possible,” added Halliday.
“It was my last match at the tournament so I just wanted to go out there and have fun.”
For the most part at the Games, Halliday’s matches were rather one-sided,with losses (coincidently) 6-0, 6-1 to opponents from Quebec on the first day and Alberta on the second. However, Ryan Lane, 16, who makes up the other half of Team Yukon, did play a couple close matches over the first week of competition, losing 7-5, 6-0 against Newfoundland and 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) against New Brunswick’s Callum Stewart.
And even though on Tuesday, Lane and Halliday lost soundly to players from Nova Scotia, winning one game between them, they did have a close exhibition doubles match against the Nova Scotians, losing 6-2, 6-4. (Singles players are precluded from competing in official doubles matches as well.)
“In the first part of both sets, I think they were unprepared for the start and we took advantage of that,” said Halliday. “When they got into it, the games started getting longer.
“I think I learned a lot at this tournament,” said Halliday. “I had a lot of fun and it was good.”
Lane and Halliday’s coach at the Games, Gerry Macken, was in an odd, if not unheard of, position of being coach for both players in Wednesday’s match.
“I had to be impartial; I can’t give both boys the goods on what’s happening (with the other),” said Macken, who coaches out of Vancouver when not with the territories. “What I did was I made a game plan for both of them; they had to design it, but I helped check it.
“They knew their opponent, but I didn’t want to give away their opponent’s secrets. I guess I sort of led them to their answers.”
Even though Macken was giving each player impartial advice during the match, he did have to supply opposite sorts of guidance.
“I had an interesting scenario where I had Kieran, who was over-pumped and he was getting agitated and I had to calm him down,” said Macken. “The other boys, Ryan (Weir) had to be pumped up because he was not activating – he wasn’t motivated.
“The two boys had to be psychologically prompted from two different directions.”
Macken fell into this position when NWT’s head coach unexpectedly quit two months ago, prompting Yukon’s neighbouring territory to request his services.
“I coach NWT in 2001 at the (Canada Summer) Games, so they asked if I could double up and do this,” said Macken at the start of the week. “It was up to (Tennis Yukon president) Stacy (Lewis) and they decided to let it happen.
“It’s a bit of a challenge.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com