What do hockey writers do when the NHL is out of season? One big thing is to just conjecture on potential trades and free-agent signings. Another thing they can do is write about other sports. This is actually a risky thing to do from some points of view, because when you don't know what you are writing about it's not that hard to screw up. In the case of Pat Hickey, who the Montreal Gazette calls a "Sports columnist and Canadiens beat reporter," it's pretty clear that he's dabbling in a topic that he doesn't follow too closely - the world of professional tennis. While everyone makes mistakes, in his July 31 article Hickey made no less than half a dozen that I could catch.

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Querrey not Isner, Karolina not Katerina

In an article titled "Tennis: Andy Murray tops 2017 #Rogers Cup field in Montreal" from July 31 Hickey errors in the first line on a factual matter. According to Hickey: "Murray has been struggling with a hip injury and was limping as he lost to American John Isner at Wimbledon." Murray actually lost to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon 2017. However, it is true that the Scot's hip has been mentioned over and over as a reason for his slump this season. Querrey and Isner are both Americans so maybe that's the source of the error.

For the second error, there's a question of what it takes to get your name spelled right. Karolina Pliskova, since Wimbledon ended, has been ranked No. 1 in the world and that's after plenty of time in the top five.

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You'd think that people who wrote about women's tennis would be getting her name right after reaching such a lofty height. However, according to Hickey "Katerina Pliskova, who has reached the spot in the WTA Tour rankings without winning a Grand Slam event, will be the top seed in the Rogers Cup women’s event in Toronto" (emphasis added on "Katerina"). By "the spot" he may have meant "top spot" or maybe "the top," but I don't mean to pick on typos. Karolina is a confusing No. 1 in the sense that she has an identical twin on tour. However, that player's name is Kristyna and that leaves unanswered who Katerina Pliskova is in the world of tennis.

Also, who is Julaa Goerges?

Hickey continues his article with a recap of some action for the Citi Open in Washington. Canadian player Francoise Abanda, according to Hickey, "lost to fourth-seeded Julaa Goerges of Germany 6-4, 6-4" on Monday. That's actually Julia Goerges for the correction and mistake #3.

For mistake numbers four, five, and six, it all comes in the final paragraph where Hickey continues to talk about what could only be the Citi Open in Washington.

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That paragraph reads that Eugenie Bouchard "opens play Aug. 8 against 10th-seeded American Christina McHale. Raonic received a first-round bye and doesn’t play until Aug. 9."

Next week the Rogers Cup will be going on in Montreal (for the men) and Toronto (for the women) and at first it seemed like Hickey was referencing those tournaments in his statements somehow. But that would require an advanced knowledge of the draw, something I don't think Hickey would be privy to if it even existed. However, that still wouldn't make sense as there's no way Christina McHale, who is ranked 61st, would get a 10 seed in such a prestigious event as the Rogers Cup.

Bouchard and McHale will actually play on August 1 (error #4) as per the order of play for the Citi Open. McHale is the 8th seed in the tournament, not the 10th (error #5) and Raonic will play on August 2 in the Citi Open's men's draw, not on August 9th (error #6).

We're all human of course and one error in a dozen articles might be the going rate for online writing. A half a dozen errors in one article, in my opinion, means that someone is writing about a topic that they don't actually follow all that closely. In one sense, that's just free speech but you should still be very careful when doing this, because screwing up badly opens you up to criticism from people that do follow the topic that you are only dabbling in. #No 1 #July 31St