It is now official: Canada has won it’s first ever tie in the Davis Cup modern era and has advanced to the quarterfinals. This is a huge accomplishment for a hockey-obsessed nation. Canadian media only rarely reports on the day-to-day success of Canadian tennis players and Canadians only hear about Canadian tennis players when there is a grand slam – and what round they lost in. I really believe that is about to change.
As I stated in a previous post, Canadian tennis is in the middle of a resurgence – quite possibly the greatest era the sport has seen in the country’s history. There are a lot of people responsible for this latest accomplishment. At the forefront are Milos Raonic and Frank Dancevic. Frank’s blistering blow out on Friday changed the complexion of the tie and Milos sealed the win with steady, reliable play. While those two players are certainly the faces of this victory, there are others who deserve recognition.
Tennis Canada for supporting and building tennis and prospective players; Martin Laurendeau the coach; the other players over the past 2 years who helped to lift Canada out of zonal play and into the World Group: Daniel Nestor, Vasek Pospisil, Philip Bester, Fred Niemeyer, Peter Polansky; and the host of players who toiled in the trenches of zonal play for decades – people like Glenn Michibata, Grant Connell, Martin Wolstenholm, Martin Laurendeau, Andrew Sznajder, Sebastian Lareau, Sebastian Leblanc.
Next up for Canada is Italy in Canada on indoor hard courts. It’s going to be a bigger challenge for Canada, but if they can back up this win over Spain with a victory over Italy, I think there is going to be a newfound respect for Canadian tennis on the world stage. I get the feeling that a lot of people see this victory over Spain as a fluke and lucky. A win over Italy will put to rest any of that kind of thinking.
A lot of the gusto that Canada can bring into that tie is the general feeling that Canadian tennis is at a point where it has never been before. Notwithstanding this recent Davis Cup success and the success of Milos Raonic, there is plenty to cheer about with all the Canadian junior players recently winning grand slams (Peliwo, Bouchard, Zhao) and the crop of young players behind them. That gusto will not only rub off on the Davis Cup team, but onto the regular tour players Raonic, Dancevic, Pospisil, Marino, Wozniak. It’s going to be a very exciting year.
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