On Monday, Tennis Canada took stock of the past season as Louis Borfiga, vice-president of high performance and athlete development and Sylvain Bruneau, national head coach of the women’s tennis program, looked back on the highlights of 2019—the finest chapter in the nation’s tennis history. Fourteen Canadians earned 27 professional titles: 12 in singles and 15 in doubles. Bianca Andreescu is the year’s most decorated player with four winner’s trophies, including Canada’s very first Grand Slam singles crown.
This past season was a momentous one for Canadian tennis and especially Bianca Andreescu. The 19-year-old Ontarian earned a title on the Challenger circuit and her first three on the WTA Tour in Indian Wells, at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank and at the US Open. She rose close to 150 places in the rankings up to World No.4 (October 21) before ending the season at No.5. Despite a shoulder injury that kept her off the courts for several months, she collected an impressive 48 wins and only 7 losses. She also holds this year’s third-best record for wins over Top 10 players (8-3) after Ashleigh Barty and Belinda Bencic.
Four in the Top 40
For the first time in its history, Canada closed the season with four players in the Top 40. After Andreescu, the nation’s second-best player is Denis Shapovalov, who finished the year at a career high ranking of No.15, in part thanks to a spectacular run this past fall that brought him his first ATP title at the Stockholm Open and first Masters 1000 final in Paris. As for Félix Auger-Aliassime, he made tremendous strides in the past 12 months. He opened the season outside the Top 100 (106) and rocketed to No.17 to close things out at No.21. He also came close to claiming his first ATP crown when he competed in the finals in Rio, Lyon and Stuttgart. Together, Andreescu, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime posted 58 wins over Top 50 players. Finally, veteran Milos Raonic is currently ranked World No.31. Plagued by injury, the former No.3 played in only 14 events this year. His highlights include a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open and a semifinal run in Indian Wells.
It was also an exciting season on the junior circuit, as Canada’s young athletes picked up a total of 35 junior titles: 15 in singles and 20 in doubles. The most memorable triumph was certainly Leylah Annie Fernandez’s win at the Roland Garros Junior Championships after she fell in the final of the junior Australian Open a few months earlier. Four players will end the season in the ITF Top 10: Fernandez (No.3), Liam Draxl (No.14), Mélodie Collard (No.22) and Taha Baadi (No.45).
Davis Cup and Fed Cup
The Canadian Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams both had terrific seasons. Of course, Canada’s race to the ultimate showdown versus Spain at the Davis Cup Finals was the high point. En route to the first final in its history, the national squad overpowered Slovakia, Italy, the United States, Australia and Russia before losing to the Spaniards. On the women’s side, Canada’s Fed Cup team qualified for the World Group I play-off with a win over the Netherlands in February. Vanquished by the Czech Republic—one of the most powerful Fed Cup teams of the past few years—Canada will be back in action in February 2020 against Switzerland to fight for a place in the finals next April in Budapest.
Among the season’s other highlights is Gabriela Dabrowski fantastic success in doubles with Xu Yifan that carried them all the way to the Wimbledon doubles final. For a third consecutive year, Dabrowski secured her ticket to the WTA Finals featuring the year’s top eight teams. In 2019, Brayden Schnur entered the Top 100 (No.92 in August 2019) after kicking off the season near No.200. He chalked up his best performance in February at the ATP 250 New York Open final. As for Vasek Pospisil, he returned to the game after spending several months recovering from spinal surgery. The 28-year-old netted two consecutive Challenger titles this fall and played a pivotal role for Canada at the Davis Cup Finals. Finally, Rob Shaw took home the gold medal at the Parapan Am Games and established himself as one of the players to watch at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.