Tennis Canada announced Monday that rising stars Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Denis Shapovalov have been named the 2016 Canadian junior players of the year. All three athletes are winning the award for a second time in their young careers, with Andreescu and Auger-Aliassime retaining their 2015 crowns and Shapovalov also taking home the honours in 2014.
“What a truly thrilling and incredible year it has been for our top junior players,” said Kelly Murumets, president and CEO, Tennis Canada. “Bianca, Denis, and Felix have already accomplished so much, and have the drive, passion, and talent to take their careers to even greater places. They have brought such excitement to Canadian tennis this year, and there is no doubt the future is shining bright! A huge congratulations to Bianca, Denis, and Felix for all of your well-deserved success in 2016 and we wish you the absolute best of luck next season.”
Andreescu, who was also announced last week as the winner of the female most improved player of the year award, is currently ranked junior world No. 9. Recovering from a foot injury which kept her out of action for much of the first half of the year, the 16-year-old quickly made a comeback. Most notably, she advanced into the semifinals of the Junior US Open, which came a week after she also made the final four at Canada’s biggest ITF junior event in Repentigny, Que.
On the pro side, she is already ranked No. 299. She captured her first career professional titles at the $25,000 Gatineau National Bank Challenger in August, sweeping both the singles and doubles crowns, and reached the $50,000 Saguenay National Bank Challenger final in October.
Sharing the male junior player of the year honours for 2016 are US Open champion Auger-Aliassime, and Wimbledon champion Shapovalov. Now 16, Auger-Aliassime was still just 15 years old when he made the Junior French Open final in June. Coming back from a tough loss in that match, he claimed the US Open trophy just a few months later. He also led Canada’s Junior Davis Cup team to a silver-medal finish, the second year in a row the nation has finished on the podium. Currently the No. 4-ranked junior in the world, he has been as high as No. 2 this year.
Seventeen-year-old Shapovalov went on a tear this spring. He made the semifinals at Roland Garros before stringing together 12 straight wins on grass, taking home an important Wimbledon tune-up tournament before capturing the prestigious trophy at the All England Club as well. He too spent time as the No. 2-ranked player in the world this season.
In addition, the two up-and-coming stars were doubles finalists together at Junior Wimbledon, while Auger-Aliassime added another doubles runner-up trophy at the US Open with fellow Canuck Benjamin Sigouin.
Both have also started their transition into the professional ranks, already posting impressive results. Shapovalov captured his first three pro level titles at tournaments in the United States, earned his first ATP World Tour main draw win at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank with a huge victory over world No. 19 Nick Kyrgios on Centre Court, and made his Davis Cup debut. He is ranked world No. 250 and was as high as No. 238 in November. For his part, Auger-Aliassime is the highest-ranked 16-year-old in the world at No. 601. He won his first pro title just last month at a $10,000 Futures event in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Tennis Canada Excellence Awards are selected by a committee comprised of high-ranked Tennis Canada personnel and the country’s top national coaches.
JUNIOR PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
|Year||Junior Male Player of the Year||Junior Female Player of the Year|
|1995||Jocelyn Robichaud||Cristina Popescu|
|1996||Jocelyn Robichaud||Cristina Popescu|
|1997||Stephan Timu||Marie-Eve Pelletier|
|1998||No record of award||No record of award|
|1999||No record of award||No record of award|
|2000||Frank Dancevic||Marie-Eve Pelletier|
|2001||Frank Dancevic||Melanie Marois|
|2002||Frank Dancevic||Aleksandra Wozniak|
|2003||Dejan Cvetkovic||Stephanie Dubois|
|2004||Peter Polansky||Aleksandra Wozniak|
|2005||Philip Bester||Aleksandra Wozniak|
|2006||Peter Polansky||Sharon Fichman|
|2007||Vasek Pospisil||Rebecca Marino|
|2008||Edward Nguyen||Eugenie Bouchard|
|2009||Zachary White||Gabriela Dabrowski|
|2010||Filip Peliwo||Eugenie Bouchard|
|2011||Filip Peliwo||Eugenie Bouchard|
|2012||Filip Peliwo||Eugenie Bouchard|
|2013||Brayden Schnur||Carol Zhao|
|2014||Denis Shapovalov||Francoise Abanda|
|2015||Felix Auger-Aliassime||Bianca Andreescu|
|2016||Felix Auger-Aliassime &