Matt Altizer wouldn't have gone outside in the glorious sunshine today and tomorrow until mid-morning at the earliest.
He would have been up by 6 a.m. this morning to watch the women's singles final at Wimbledon and the same time tomorrow for the men's final.
Matt, besides being our IT man here at the Citizen, was also our resident tennis expert until he died Feb. 9 in a horrible crash near McLeese Lake with his wife, his sister and his two children.
Matt would have loved the storylines of the two singles finals this year.
This morning, 30-year-old Serena Williams will play for her 14th Grand Slam title and her fifth at Wimbledon against first-time Grand Slam finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, the first Polish woman to reach the Wimbledon final since 1939. Williams will try to become the first 30-plus woman to win a singles Grand Slam title since Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990.
The history on the men's side is even more compelling.
Andy Murray is the first Briton to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. He hopes to win his first Grand Slam title on home soil and become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936.
On the other side of the net, Roger Federer hopes to win his seventh Wimbledon title, tying him with Pete Sampras for the most, and extend his record number of Grand Slam titles to 17. Federer, also 30, would be the first 30-plus man to win a Grand Slam title since Andre Agassi won the Australian Open in 2003. Lastly, if Federer wins tomorrow, he retakes the world No. 1 ranking and ties Sampras's record of 286 weeks as the world's top-ranked player.
Between Wimbledon in late June and early July, as well as the U.S. Open in September, the usually quiet Matt could turn into a yapping machine, throwing out player stats and tennis history with as much pace as a well-struck two-handed backhand down the line.
He would have pointed out that Federer is 6-1 in Wimbledon finals, his only loss a painful five-set defeat to arch nemesis Rafael Nadal, where Federer led two sets to love, had opportunities to end it in tiebreakers in the third and fourth set, and then fell 9-7 in the fifth set as the daylight faded from Centre Court.
Matt would then have pointed out that Murray is one of the few players in the world who have won more matches than they've lost over their career against Federer.
And then Matt would have come down squarely on Federer's side in tomorrow's final, arguing the pressure on Murray will be huge while Federer has too much experience. Like many tennis purists, Matt admired Federer's mix of power and strength with finesse and creativity on the court.
Matt lived and breathed tennis.
He was on his way to Vancouver at the time of the accident to take in the Davis Cup matches in Vancouver between Canada and France. They would have been his first live pro tennis event. Organizers of the tournament observed a moment of silence in his honour before one of the matches at the event.
Up until the week he died, Matt was working on making tennis an all-year sport in Prince George. He had invented a portable net he designed on the computer and got custom-built in England for use on the turf at the Northern Sport Centre at UNBC.
At 40, Matt was still one of the top men's players in Prince George and won the 2011 men's doubles title at the City Championships with Andrej Vdovenko. He is missed dearly on the courts this season, as are his two children, Jon and Emily, who had taken an active interest in the game.
We miss you, Matt, and we'll have our eyes on the TV this weekend knowing you're watching, too.
We hope where you are that your crosscourt forehands always hit the line and the strawberries and cream always taste sweet.
-- Managing editor Neil Godbout