When it comes to nurturing tennis champions Canada has been part of the nearly club, with names like Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic and Greg Rusedski all coming close to achieving greatness but without ever quite breaking through to that elusive elite level.
Now a new breed of Canadian tennis player is here, with young players both on the men’s and women’s tours making significant headway in the rankings. In this article, we take a look at three of the most promising rising stars, either one capable of truly putting Canada on the tennis map once and for all.
It would be wrong to start anywhere other than with Bianca Andreescu, the woman who burst onto the WTA scene in 2019 taking down the best female tennis player ever in the US Open final.
In beating Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows, Andreescu became not only the first Canadian to win a singles Grand Slam title, but she also became the highest ranked female Canadian player of all time. Despite having already broken plenty of records, all before she even hits her 21st birthday, Andreescu’s ultimate goal is to become world number 1. With the likes of the younger Williams sister and Petra Kvitová getting on in age, it would not be the worst bet in the world to back the young Canadian to realise her dream, especially seeing as she already sits in the top 10. A matched bet combined with one of the other names on this list could be an interesting way to spice up the rest of the 2020 season for Canadian tennis fans.
If you were to ask most players on the ATP Tour which of their peers has the best one-handed backhand, most would probably still plump for Roger Federer, but hot on his heels would be Canadian sensation Denis Shapovalov.
Shapovalov’s mother has been the secret to his success, coaching her son at her very own training facility near Toronto, before passing him on to Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau.
The youngster started to turn heads in front of his very own Canadian fans when at the 2017 Rogers Cup Masters event he beat first Juan Martin Del Potro and then none other than Rafael Nadal, eventually going on to be the youngest player to ever reach a Masters event semi-final.
With the world on notice, Shapovalov has since gone on to claim his maiden tour title in Sweden and now has his sights set on breaking into the world top 10. The only thing that might hold him back is his temperament, which got him in trouble during an eventful Davis Cup tie. Or maybe this is the sort of fire a young player needs in order to break through against the sport’s evergreen old guard.
If his compatriot Shapovalov is all about languid flamboyance, then Felix Auger-Aliassime is all about power and speed.
Standing at a towering 193 cm, he has already shown that he has the bullet-fast ground strokes and serve to worry anyone on tour, which a top-20 ranking proving the point further still.
If you believe in such things as fate, it may be worth noting that he also shares a birthday with Roger Federer, who happens to be one of his heroes. Between them, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov will be serious problems for anyone in a Grand Slam draw or indeed the Davis Cup, where Canada’s future looks particularly bright.