Toronto, April 27, 2015 – Tennis Canada announced Monday that Francoise Abanda (Montreal) and Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, Ont.) have been named the 2014 Tennis Canada Junior Players of the Year. Abanda, a member of Tennis Canada’s National Training Centre in Montreal since the 2009-10 season, earned impressive results on both the junior and professional levels last year while Shapovalov began to make his mark on the international junior circuit at the young age of 15.
Climbing to a ranking inside the Top 200 on the WTA circuit throughout the season, Abanda was Canada’s most successful teenager in 2014. She started the year off right by capturing her first professional singles title at the $25,000 Port St. Lucie Challenger in Florida. A qualifier, she won eight straight matches en route to the trophy. She made an appearance on the junior circuit in the spring, advancing into the semifinals of the Junior French Open. Later, she also finished as runner-up at the $25K Gatineau event back in her home province in July. She impressed many within the tennis circle at the US Open, as at the age of 17 years and 214 days, she made the US Open main draw. Dropping just six games in three qualifying matches, she became the youngest Canadian since Helen Kelesi in 1987 to appear in a Slam main draw. Abanda also made two other $25K semifinals through the season, at Granby, Quebec and Surprise, Arizona.
Only turning 15 in 2014, Shapovalov made great strides throughout the season, which saw him become the second-highest ranked Canadian boy on the ITF junior world rankings by the end of the year. He won his first ITF junior title outside of Canadian borders in June, clinching both the singles and doubles crowns at the Copa Cariari, a Grade 4 event in Costa Rica. He finished as a semifinalist at a Grade 4 tournament in El Salvador and Grade 2 event in Montreal and earlier in the year won the ITF Grade 5 event held in Burlington, Ont. He impressively rose over 100 spots in the ITF junior rankings to finish at world No. 108.
“Congratulations to Francoise and Denis, who both had remarkable years in 2014,” said Hatem McDadi, senior vice-president, tennis development, Tennis Canada. “They are both tremendous players and terrific role models. The future for Canadian tennis is very bright thanks to all the coaches, support systems and families involved at various levels to help support and develop world-class athletes like Francoise and Denis.”
The Tennis Canada Excellence Awards were introduced in 1982 and are presented annually to the country’s top tennis players, coaches, officials, communities, and administrators in recognition of their outstanding contributions made to Canadian tennis.