It’s pretty clear that the undisputed greatest tennis player in Canadian history is Daniel Nestor. That was clear well over a decade ago when he won the Olympic gold medal in doubles in Australia in 2000 with Sebastian Lareau. It’s remarkable that he has continued on for another 13 years – racking up titles at all the majors, all the Masters and contributing to the health of the Canadian Davis Cup team.Today, Daniel added to his legacy by adding another major to his resume. He and French player Kristina Mladenovic won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title – his third overall mixed doubles major. Listing off all of Nestor’s titles would fill a book, but to briefly summarize so far what he has done to cement his name as the greatest Canadian tennis player of all-time (the Canadian G.O.A.T.) here is a brief history of his accomplishments:
Olympic gold medal in tennis, men’s doubles: 2000 Sydney Olympics
8 major men’s doubles titles: 4 French Open; 2 Wimbledon; 1 U.S. Open; 1 Australian Open
3 major mixed doubles titles: 2 Australian; 1 Wimbledon
25 Masters titles
4 World Doubles Championships
80 doubles titles
And those stats only scratch the surface. I’m not even mentioning all the Tour doubles finals he has reached (132 by the way), the major doubles finals he has played in (23 by the way), the prize money he has won (over $10 million so far), the accolades he has received (the Order of Canada, Canada’s Walk of Fame). All of these stats are Hall of Fame worthy and the moment he is eligible to enter the Hall after he retires, he should be waiting at the Hall’s doorstep.
Over and above all those amazing stats, he and Mike and Bob Bryan are the only doubles players (and the only men) to win all four majors (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open) and an Olympic gold medal. He and Mike and Bob Bryan are also the only doubles players to win all of the Master’s titles at least once. He’s also 4th all-time with 80 career titles.
Doubles has always taken a backseat to singles in professional tennis. The glory, the press, the money, the coverage, the television, the fame – it all goes to the singles part of the tournament – no matter if it is a major, a Masters or a 500/250 tournament. That is why Daniel Nestor is one of the most underappreciated athletes in Canadian history. Consistently over his 20 year career, he has been snubbed in the Canadian press in favour of head-bashing, street fighting on ice, otherwise known as the NHL. To be frank, it’s a disgrace. He’s one of the most decorated athletes in sports history and only a small portion of Canadian sports fans (tennis fans by and large) know his name. If a hockey player sucker punches another player from behind, it’s front page news. If Daniel Nestor wins Wimbledon, the greatest prize in tennis, he’s relegated to page E9. It’s disgusting.
Daniel started out as a singles player, which is why many people still remember him defeating Stefan Edberg in Davis Cup as a singles player in 1992. Even that irks me because he did so much more as a doubles player over the next 20 years. It’s as if all those accomplishments are tainted because they are in doubles. Singles truly is the beacon of tennis, which is why Canadians still remember Carling Bassett and Helen Kelesi, rather than Daniel’s accomplishments. It’s just the way things are. But looking over Daniel’s results, it’s hard not to ignore the facts. I’m sure if the Canadians who don’t know Daniel Nestor were made aware of his stats, they’d say ‘wow’. Wow indeed.
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