Following difficult seasons in 2011 and 2012, Canada resurfaced as a Fed Cup team to watch in 2013 and cemented that status in 2014.
Without the services of of Aleksandra Wozniak in 2012 and 2013, Canada’s all-time winningest Fed Cup player, the Canadian squad found a new leader in Eugenie Bouchard. Despite her young age, Bouchard showcased her leadership qualities in bringing her country back into World Group II for the first time since 2011 and then into World Group I amongst the top 8 nations in the world for the first time in team history.
In February 2014 against a Serbian team without Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Bojana Jovanovski, Canada dominated, winning three straight matches in front of their home crowd at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex in Montreal. Wozniak returned to win a topsy turvy match against Vesna Dolonc to set the tone for the weekend and Bouchard took care of the rest. Fresh off her first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open, she lost just four games in her two matches to propel Canada to victory and set up a World Group I play-off tie against Slovakia.
Canada continued their march towards history during Easter weekend in April at home again in Quebec City at PEPS on the campus of Laval University. As was the case in February, Wozniak had the task of breaking the ice and she delivered the goods again. The veteran put forth an inspirational performance, overcoming a 2-5 deficit in the second set and 3-5 deficit in the third to come away with a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over Jana Cepelova. Bouchard then struggled against world no. 137 Kristina Kucova, but pulled out a 7-6(0), 2-6, 6-1 triumph, and sealed a history making weekend by defeating Cepelova in straight sets on Sunday. Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman lost the doubles rubber to the Slovaks.
With its two victories in 2014, Canada finds itself amongst the top 8 Fed Cup nations in the world in World Group I for the first time in team history. The Canadians will face a very stiff test in their first round tie against the Czech Republic, the no. 1 team in the world and winners of the Fed Cup title three times in the last four years. Canada will have the advantage of playing at home at PEPS in Quebec City on February 7 and 8, 2015. For the occasion, we could witness a rematch of the 2014 Wimbledon final between Bouchard and Petra Kvitova. Canada may be the underdogs in this tie, but they have proven over the last few years that anything is possible!