Tennis Canada announced on Wednesday that Heidi El Tabakh has been named captain of the Canadian Fed Cup team. She will replace Sylvain Bruneau, who will now focus on his role as the Head Coach for the National Women’s Program as well as his significant involvement in the development of Bianca Andreescu.
Born in Egypt, El Tabakh has proudly represented Canada since 2005. As a player, she reached a career high ranking of world no. 146 in 2012. That same year, she qualified for the main draw at Roland-Garros for the second time. The 31-year-old has been crowned champion a total of seven times at tournaments on the ITF professional circuit. Since retiring in 2016, she has invested her time in coaching different programs at Tennis Canada. She notably held the role of Captain for the Canadian Junior Fed Cup team (16 years and under), who, this past April, qualified for the finals.
El Tabakh said that she was honored by the chance offered to her by Tennis Canada.
“It’s an honor for me to accept this position. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the development of Tennis in Canada and to be able to give back to my sport. I know the female Canadian players very well and I believe in this team. I am already looking forward to our upcoming tie next February. » “It will also be quite a challenge to follow in the footsteps of a captain like Sylvain. Having seen him in action as the team’s captain and having worked with him throughout my career, I can attest to the fact that Sylvain was an exceptional captain for our team,” stated El Tabakh.
“Since retiring from professional tennis, Heidi has demonstrated a great desire to contribute to the success of Canadian tennis and to help our athletes develop and reach their full potential,” noted Louis Borfiga, Vice-President of High Performance. “Heidi certainly has the support of all the players and Tennis Canada staff members. We know that she has the right leadership qualities, all the necessary skills and the willingness to bring the team back into World Group I in the coming years.”
“I would like to thank Sylvain for being captain of our Canadian Fed Cup team. He was the only captain I ever had, so he introduced me to Fed Cup and taught me all about it. He was amazing and will be missed,” said Eugenie Bouchard. “The team and I are looking forward to starting a new chapter with Heidi. We are confident she will be great for the team.”
Bruneau has been the captain of the Canadian team since 2010 after having spent 6 years as the team coach. Under his leadership, Canada was able to secure a spot in World Group I, which features the eight best nations in the world, in 2015, following a sequence of seven consecutive victories.
“It was an honour to be involved with this team for 15 years and to have had the chance to represent Canada alongside the players. Fed Cup is a very intense and energy consuming competition. I understand and fully support the organization’s choice to devote my time towards my role as Head Coach of the National Women’s Program,” stated Bruneau. “We have many talented young players and my mission is to lead them to their full potential. I am convinced that Heidi will be an excellent Fed Cup captain. I wish her and the team good luck. I will continue to closely follow their progress in Fed Cup.”
“During all of his years at the helm of this team, Sylvain has always managed to convey his passion, integrity and rigor to the players. He has always had the respect of all the players, no matter the decisions he made,” continued Borfiga. “We are grateful for all of Sylvain`s contributions. We feel the time is now for Sylvain to step away from Fed Cup in order to fully commit to his role as the Head National Coach of the Women’s Program. This is good news for Tennis Canada and for our Canadian players, as he will be even more invested in the development of women’s tennis in Canada.”
The Canadian Fed Cup team will face the Netherlands February 9 and 10, 2019 in the World Group II first round tie.