Daniel finally getting his due

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

When Mike Weir saunters down the fairways of Glen Abbey this week, the adoring galleries will serve as his own personal entourage.

Weir, for the record, has won one of golf's Grand Slam events -- The Masters.

Some 30 kilometres away from the water-logged Oakville course, site of this week's Canadian Open, another member of this country's sporting elite, Daniel Nestor, also is strutting his skills in front of the home folk, albeit further under the radar.

This is the same Daniel Nestor who has won all of tennis' Grand Slam doubles tourneys -- the 2002 Australian Open, the 2004 U.S. Open, the 2007 French Open and, most recently, the 2008 Wimbledon crown -- a title that has propelled him to the No. 1-ranking in the world.

As the Serbian-born, Toronto-raised Nestor celebrated his momentous victory on the prestigious Wimbledon lawns earlier this month, he became just the fourth player ever to achieve the Golden Slam -- the four majors plus an Olympic gold medal, which he won in 2000 at Sydney.

Even though tennis has been an official Olympic sport since only 1988, some of the game's top competitors of the past two decades have failed to reach that pinnacle. Pete Sampras never did it. Neither has Rafael Nadal nor Roger Federer.

Fan favourite Andre Agassi and the Aussie doubles duo of Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde are the only other men to win the Golden Slam.

Yet, if Weir and Nestor were to saddle up to the counter of the nearest java joint, who do you think would be more recognizable?

"Mike Weir ... for sure," Nestor said last night. "I mean, he won The Masters, after all.

"Golf is a bigger sport than tennis, especially in the past 20 years. More people play it in this country than tennis."

Having said that, Nestor finally is getting his due. Some 16 years after a lanky teen stringbean upset Stefan Edberg during an historic Davis Cup tie between Canada and heavily favoured Sweden, Nestor, now 35, received a rousing ovation last night at the Rexall Centre after receiving the Golden Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his Golden Slam.

"I'm not really one to be the centre of attention, but that was fun," he said later. "Having my friends and family here to see it, it was special.

"It's a great honour. There were times early in my career when I thought some of my accomplishments didn't get their due. But I think that is changing, partially because of the tournaments I've won, partially because I've been doing this for a long time."

Nestor's shy nature is not the only reason fame has eluded him for so long.

"Doubles is not on television a lot," he pointed out.

That should change this week here at the Rogers Cup, where Nestor and partner Nenad Zemonjic will see their first action tomorrow.

Nestor spent yesterday morning ringing the bell to open up the Toronto Stock Exchange. It was a big moment. At least that's what he thought until some of his buddies called him up.

"They blamed me for the (market) crash," he joked.

It may be one of the biggest sporting weeks in the GTA area this year, but there is more than enough adulation to go around for both Daniel Nestor and Mike Weir.


Photos