Canada’s Rise To Tennis Glory

By Ben Hamill - June 08 2019

Canada’s Rise To Tennis Glory

What do Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu have in common? Two words: “Canada” and “Tennis”. The Great White North has slowly but surely established itself as a tennis superpower, and in the spirit of being free of all pretence; the why and the how are complicated questions indeed.

The world is boggled by the phenomena and Canada’s star tennis-trio can hardly even win a match without being probed by the curious as to how the country has managed to produce not one or two, but three international young tennis stars. The country’s population is roughly only 37 million strong, after all.

And did anyone say “winter sport nation”?

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What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

The short answer, money and pure and simple co-incidence aside, is that it all appears to come down to a healthy dose of luck. The concentration of young tennis stars, that is. The rest involves all of the usual suspects such as hard work, national support, and a sterling team of role models for emerging young tennis stars to emulate and look up to.  And really, much of what has happened over the course of recent years has had a lot to do with the nation’s role models. Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic are just about the best pair of examples that anyone could ask for in a case study such as this one.  It’s the story of two bright young stars preaching the gospel of “if we can do it, so can you”.

Thanks to no shortage of role-model inspiration, all that remained was for young players to follow the lead. And follow the lead they did, thanks to the support of an organisation fully committed to developing sports in the country: Tennis Canada.

A Team Effort

Not that this is an organisation at all interested in claiming any of the credit for itself. Just ask CEO Michael Downey. According to Downey, there is no way in which Tennis Canada could ever claim all of the credit for the nation’s tennis prowess. It’s a team-effort, says Downey, and there really isn’t much more to it than that. It’s the parents, it’s the teachers, it’s the coaches, and perhaps most importantly, says the CEO, it’s the hard-core commitment on the parts of the players themselves.

Tennis Canada certainly did do its bit in terms of support, despite Downey’s humble opinion on who the credit belongs to. Building pride in national sport; and specifically tennis; is a mandate that it considers to be a very serious one indeed, and it shows.

Just look at Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu.

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