The Masters is one of those sporting events that people mark down on their calendar and tune in for. That got us thinking: Which Canadian tennis players have versions of themselves in golf? When it comes to personality, style, and performance, there are plenty of good comparisons to make.
So here’s what the Tennis Canada team came up with.
When Milos Raonic and Brooks Koepka step on the court or green, it’s all business. Both are very professional and could definitely be described as stoic. Calm, cool and collected, they go about their games without showing much emotion.
That didn’t take long! pic.twitter.com/MtXGHEVslL
— Milos Raonic (@milosraonic) December 11, 2018
A key attribute that these top athletes are known for is their strength and pure power. It’s no secret that Raonic possesses one of – if not the – most dominant serves on the ATP Tour. The 28 year old currently sits fourth in total aces this year (341) and first in percentage first serve points won (83.8%). 28-year-old Koepka, a two-time US Open champion, is very similar when he lines up at the tee, slamming the golf ball an average of 300.5 yards, which ranks sixth on the PGA tour.
Not only are these two close friends, but they have also experienced very similar career paths in their respective sports.
Bouchard vaulted up the WTA rankings thanks to an outstanding 2014, which included semi-final appearances at the Australian Open and Roland-Garros as well as the final at Wimbledon. Thanks to these types of performances, she became the highest-ranked women’s Canadian player ever, reaching world no. 5 in October. Since that year, though, the now-25 year old has struggled with injures and, as a result, consistency.
Wie grabbed attention at the young age of 10, becoming the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship. Just before her 16th birthday in 2005, she turned pro. The American has experienced great accomplishments such as winning the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 and finishing second at the ANA Inspiration the same year. Unfortunately numerous injuries – mostly wrist related – have side-tracked Wie’s career.
At the tender age of 18, Rory McIlroy was labelled as the next big thing in golf… and he didn’t disappoint. His first professional victory came at 19 at the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic. The Northern Irishman’s first PGA Championship victory came in 2011 at the US Open. What makes him so great is his versatility. Félix Auger-Aliassime’s skill sets are transferable on any court surface and, like McIlory, he holds the potential of being a dominant force for years to come.
Coming through the junior ranks, the now-18 year old holds a professional singles record of 79-19. He won the junior US Open and made it the finals in the junior French Open in 2016. Similar to McIlory, Félix made some noise early on in his young career. Just this year, he became the youngest-ever ATP 500 finalist at the Rio Open and followed it up a month later with a semi-finals appearance at the Miami Open. At 29 years old, McIlory currently holds 24 professional wins and four major championships, while Felix is on the trajectory to have a similarly successful career as well.
HE DOES IT!
Félix Auger-Aliassime defeats Borna Coric 7-6(3), 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the #MiamiOpen. Unbelievable level from the 18-year-old in the biggest match of his career.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) March 28, 2019
Bianca Andreescu and Brooke Henderson are one in the same. These young Canadians did not waste anytime bursting onto the scene and are on course to stay at the top for a very long time.
As an 18 year old, Henderson captured her first major championship at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016. From that point on she’s been a consistent Top 10 player on the tour. So far the year of 2019 in women’s tennis has belonged to Andreescu. Headlined by her first WTA title at BNP Paribas Open, the 18 year old improved her ranking from 152 in late December all the way to 23. During this run she’s taken down top-tier players such as Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki. There is no reason to think Andreescu won’t be a consistent headliner on the WTA scene.
Both the youngsters are ingénue types with flashy games, which has created a ton of buzz on the international sports’ scene. More importantly though, how they conduct and carry themselves has made them likable athletes.
We all know by now that Denis Shapovalov is not afraid to stand out from the crowd and attract the spotlight. The ninth-ranked golfer, Rickie Fowler, is the same way, being known for his bright wardrobe and energetic personality. The eccentric style of Fowler grabbed the attention of viewers, especially early on in his career, which has included a signature ‘hockey flow’ under a massive Puma-branded hat in addition to wearing all orange on Sundays in honour of his old University, Oklahoma State. Shapovalov adopts a similar style and energy that has fans gravitating towards him.
From the moment Fowler turned pro in 2009, he’s been a staple on the tour. All that’s missing is a major championship for the 30 year old. In Shapovalov’s case, he made his presence felt at the 2017 Rogers Cup after a stunning win over then-World No. 1 Rafael Nadal. And from there the 19 year old has continued to climb up the ATP rankings to his current career-high of No. 20. Is a first Major in his sights as well?
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Incredible honour to be voted by my peers 2017 ATP Most Improved Player. I'm very proud of what I accomplished this year and I wanted to extend my gratitude to my team, my sponsors, and my family for their incredible support. I couldn't have achieved these results and awards without them. Special thanks to my mom and coach Tessa. Thank you to Nike, Yonex, National Bank of Canada, TAG Heuer, BioSteel, Aird and Berlis Law, and Bob and Mary Pat Armstrong. @nike @yonex_com @banquenationale @tagheuer @biosteelsports
(Feature photo: Nike)