40 LOVE Icons: Carling Bassett-Seguso
Published December 04, 2013 12:03
TORONTO, Canada - A few weeks ago, Eugenie Bouchard became the second Canadian ever to receive the WTA's Newcomer Of The Year Award - if she's to catch up with the first Canadian to do it, though, she has her work cut out for her, for that first Canadian to do it was an absolute legend.
Carling Bassett-Seguso emerged through the junior ranks in the early 1980s, actually going as high as No.2 in the world in the juniors. Like Bouchard these days, Bassett-Seguso's glamorous looks shone through - the Toronto native ventured into the worlds of modelling and acting in her teenage years.
The breakout year came in 1983 - she turned pro on January 3, made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open as a 15-year-old and won her first WTA title in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She was the first Canadian ever to win a WTA title - and she was the WTA's Newcomer Of The Year that year.
There would be much more to come over the next several years, including a second WTA title at the still-running French Open lead-up event in Strasbourg in 1987, one Grand Slam semifinal (1984 US Open) and two more Grand Slam quarterfinals (the French Open in 1984 and 1986). She would also go as high as No.8 in the world in 1985, still the only Canadian ever to break into the Top 10 in the WTA Rankings, in fact one of only two to break the Top 20 (Helen Kelesi made it as high as No.13).
Originally Bassett, she married American player Robert Seguso on October 17, 1987 and had her first child in 1988. She has had more children but returned to the tour a few times as a mother over the next few years, eventually playing her last tournament at Miami in 1996. Since then the pair has kept busy with a tennis academy, coaching their kids and more - Bassett-Seguso commentated too.
Can Bouchard emulate Bassett-Seguso's breakthrough youth and break into the Top 10? Will another Canadian, Aleksandra Wozniak, keep her current comeback from injury going and do it too? Wozniak nearly became the third Canadian to break the Top 20 after all, making it to No.21 a few years ago.
Time will tell - but for now, Darling Carling remains the brightest beacon of light in Canadian tennis.