The players list for the Gatineau Futures presented by the Turpin Group, National Bank Financial, was unveiled on Thursday. Sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the tournament, which offers $25, 000 U.S. in total prize money, which represents an increase of $10,000 compared to last year, will be held from February 27 to March 6, 2016 at the Sporthèque in Gatineau.
This year, the Canadian contingent will be led by 27-year-old Philip Bester (Vancouver, BC), ranked no. 277 in the world. He is slated to be the tournament’s second seed. Bester enjoyed considerable success on Canadian soil last season. In addition to being crowned champion of the Richmond Futures, he also reached the final in Gatineau and advanced to his first career Challenger final at the $100,000 Granby National Bank Challenger. Bester will be joined by rising stars Félix Auger-Aliassime, 15, and Denis Shapovalov, 16. Auger-Aliassime earned direct entry into the main draw and Shapovalov has been awarded a wildcard. The two players joined forces last summer to win the junior U.S. Open doubles title and also led Canada to its first junior Davis Cup title. Both players have already proven that they have the game to compete with the pros. Auger-Aliassime, currently ranked no. 11 on the world junior rankings, became the youngest player in history to qualify for a Challenger event when he accomplished the feat in Drummondville last year. A few months later, he reached the quarter-finals in Granby. For his part, Shapovalov captured his maiden Futures title in Florida in January. Three more Canadian players will be awarded main draw wildcards in the coming days.
“Men’s tennis is on the rise in Canada with several players making a name for themselves on the ITF Junior Circuit. Tennis fans in Gatineau will have the chance to watch these up and coming players, just like a few years ago when Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil played the event,” said Richard Quirion, Tournament Director of the Gatineau Futures.
Ten countries will be represented during the 2016 edition of the tournament. A Gatineau regular, world no. 266 German Gigounon of Belgium is slated to be the top seed. Great Britain’s Daniel Smethurst, who won the event in 2014, will be coming back to Gatineau this year. In addition a pair of former junior world no. 2s, 18-year-old American Stefan Kozlov and 22-year-old Brit Liam Broady, will be looking to continue their transition to the pros in Gatineau.
The Gatineau Futures the Turpin Group, National Bank Financial is the first in a series of three tournaments that will be played in Quebec during the month of March. The event will be followed by the Sherbrooke Futures and the inaugural Drummondville National Bank Challenger.