With a wildly successful year for Canadian tennis players now behind us and the 2015 tennis season just a handful of days away, it’s time to look at some exciting storylines to follow next year. Today we are focusing on Canada’s top men’s players and what lays ahead for them in 2015:
One of the best doubles players of all-time, Daniel Nestor is nearing yet another incredible milestone – 1,000 match wins. Currently sitting at the 958-win mark (the most all-time in doubles) Nestor is just 42 victories away from hitting quadruple digits. Since 2002, the eight-time Slam champion has only won less than 42 matches in a season just once, picking up 34 triumphs in 2013. He was resurgent this past year though, climbing back up to a ranking of world No. 3 and putting together a win-loss record of 48-24. If he is able to replicate that same success in 2015, Nestor could reach 1,000 wins late in the season, which means Canadian tennis fans will definitely be cheering for the legend and his new partner Rohan Bopanna to achieve lots of strong results together all year-long.
Milos Raonic has progressed each year of his career and 2014 was no different as the 23-year-old hit a new career-high ranking of world No. 6, made his first Slam quarter-final and semifinal, and captured his maiden ATP World Tour 500 title. Raonic will look to do the same in 2015, but it remains to be seen exactly what form that improvement will take. Will he make another Slam semifinal, his first Slam final, win a Masters 1000 title, or hit the Top 5 in rankings for the first time? Coming off his best season yet, Raonic is already the most accomplished male singles player in Canadian tennis history, and there is no doubt he will achieve much more in the years to come. It will be exciting to watch what he is able to do on the ATP World Tour next season.
One of the most unexpected but ultimately most exciting storylines from the 2014 season came in the form of PospiSock – the pairing of Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock and their surprising run to the Wimbledon championship. While both players are still focused on their singles game – Pospisil is currently ranked world No. 53 and he made his first singles final at Washington this year while Sock is world No. 42 – many tennis fans will be hoping for a reunion and their matches would definitely be must-see. In the midst of what could be very successful years for both of them on the singles circuit, the duo might also team up and do some damage in the Slams once again.
The Canadian Davis Cup team’s 2013 season was one no tennis fan in this country will soon forget, as Canada defeated Spain and Italy to reach the World Group semifinals for the first time ever. After a year in which Canada fell in the first round but maintained its World Group status with a win over Colombia in the play-offs, the squad is anxious and determined to make it deep in the draw once again. Their journey begins with a tough opening match-up against Japan, March 6-8 in the friendly confines of the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver. A re-match of the 2014 first round, in which Canada was missing its top two stars in Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, the Canadians will hope to this time boast a healthy team opposite the Kei Nishikori-led Japanese. Should Canada oust Japan and reach the quarter-finals for the second time ever, a duel with Belgium or Switzerland would lay in waiting.
Canada currently has two players entrenched in the Top 100 in Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, with Frank Dancevic and Peter Polansky next in line at world No. 149 and No. 185, respectively. While Raonic and Pospisil continue to succeed on the ATP World Tour and attempt to improve even more, it will also be interesting to follow along the plights of Canadians on the ATP Challenger and ITF Pro Circuit tours as well. Polansky, Steven Diez, Filip Peliwo, and Brayden Schnur all hit career-high markers in 2014 before their rankings dropped prior to the end of the year. Each of them, along with players like Dancevic and Philip Bester, are capable of posting strong results. And one of them very well could break out in 2015 and climb the rankings even more.