When the curtain closes on the 2015 season a few weeks from now, Canada will have six players ranked inside at least the top 40 on the ITF junior rankings, including the two top-ranked 15-year-olds in the world.
Félix Auger-Aliassime is arguably one of the revelations of this tennis year. Not only is the 15-year-old, who shares a birthday with Roger Federer, ranked no. 24 on the junior rankings, but he is also the first player born in the 2000s to have an ATP ranking. In March, Auger-Aliassime became the youngest player in history to qualify for an ATP Challenger in Drummondville. Four months later he reached the quarter-finals of the Granby National Bank Challenger. Auger-Aliassime also teamed up with Denis Shapovalov to capture the U.S. Open junior doubles title, the first Grand Slam crown for both.
Not to be outdone is fellow 15-year-old Bianca Andreescu, ranked no. 21 on the junior rankings. Andreescu trains out of the NTC in Toronto and is coached by former world no. 3 Nathalie Tauziat. This summer she made the final of her first career pro tournament at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger and also took home the title at the Grade 1 ITF junior event in Repentigny after defeating her compatriot Charlotte Robillard-Millette in the final.
Leading Canada’s strong next generation is 16-year-old Robillard-Millette who cracked the Top 10 after a breakthrough season. She dominated the clay court season this spring, reaching three consecutive finals and winning two titles. Robillard-Millette also reached a pair of $50,000 Challenger quarter-finals in Granby and Saguenay where she upset former world no. 11 Shahar Peer.
Perhaps the most telling sign of this bright future is Canada’s performance at the Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals in Madrid this fall. Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and Benjamin Sigouin won the Davis Cup title, an historic first for Canada. Meanwhile, the Fed Cup team of Andreescu, Robillard-Millette, and Katherine Sebov earned an impressive third place finish.
Those wondering which players are following in the footsteps of Milos, Genie, and Vasek appear to have their answer. We can’t wait to see what these youngsters are going to do for an encore performance in 2016!