Toronto, January 14, 2016 – Tennis Canada announced on Thursday that Bianca Andreescu and Felix Auger-Aliassime have been named the 2015 Tennis Canada Junior Players of the Year. Ending the seasons ranked world No. 4 and No. 16, respectively, Andreescu and Auger-Aliassime are the two highest-ranked 15-year-olds in the world.
“We are so proud of Bianca and Felix and everything they have already achieved at such a young age,” said Kelly Murumets, president and CEO, Tennis Canada. “They both had phenomenal seasons last year and have the talent, drive, and dedication to do the same in 2016. The future is bright with Bianca and Felix leading a group of many promising juniors in Canada right now. They continue to impress and we wish them the absolute best of luck this season.”
In her first tournament of the season, Andreescu captured a Grade 2 title in Bolivia. She made three other finals before winning four matches in her pro-level debut to advance into the $25,000 Gatineau Challenger final in Quebec in July. The following month, she claimed both her maiden national junior championship in Mississauga, Ont. and what was her biggest title to date at the Canadian Open Junior Championships, a Grade 1 event in Repentigny, Que. and the nation’s biggest junior tournament. She then went 9-1 in the Junior Fed Cup finals to lead Canada to a bronze-medal finish.
In November, she made the final of the Grade 1 Yucatan Cup in Mexico before capping her superb season with a trophy at the prestigious Orange Bowl in Florida. A year after taking the U16 crown, she became just the third Canadian in history to win the U18 title. After starting the year at the world No. 332 position, she rocketed up the rankings to begin 2016 as world No. 4.
“This is so incredible, thank you so much Tennis Canada for this recognition,” Andreescu said. “2015 was my best year yet. Winning the Under 18 Orange Bowl, giving me back-to-back championships at this event, and representing my country at Junior Fed Cup in Spain were definitely the highlights of my season. This recognition is the icing on the cake. It is an honour and it makes me want to achieve much more in 2016.”
Auger-Aliassime posted impressive gains through the season as well, rising to world No. 16 from No. 431 at the start of January. He won two consecutive Grade 4 and Grade 3 titles in Mexico to begin his year. Then, in March, he broke through into the mainstream tennis world when he qualified for the ATP Challenger in Drummondville at the age of 14, making him the youngest player to ever make a Challenger and the first player born in the 2000s to have an ATP ranking. A few months later, he would make the quarter-finals of the ATP Challenger in Granby. He is currently No. 742 on the ATP World Tour rankings.
Back on the junior side, he clinched two prestigious Grade 1 titles – his first at College Park, Maryland in the summer and later in the year at the Eddie Herr Championships in Florida. He also finished as runner-up three times through the year, including at the Canadian Open Junior Championships. Auger-Aliassime was Canada’s No. 1 player at Junior Davis Cup, leading the team to the nation’s first-ever title at the event. He will be heading into his first tournament of 2016 as world No. 8.
“I would like to thank my family and Tennis Canada, especially the coaches at the National Training Centre for their support and the work they accomplished with me in 2015,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It’s an honour to receive this award and it shows me that I am on the right track. However, I am aware that there is still a lot work ahead of me in order to achieve my goals and this is just the beginning of a great adventure.”
Andreescu and Auger-Aliassime will be starting their 2016 seasons this weekend in Australia with the ITF Grade 1 tournament in Traralgon before heading to Melbourne for the Junior Australian Open.
The Tennis Canada Excellence Awards are selected by a committee comprised of high-ranking Tennis Canada personnel and the country’s top national coaches. Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic were previously announced as the Birks Players of the Year.
TENNIS CANADA JUNIOR PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
|Year||Outstanding Junior Male||Outstanding Junior Female|
|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|