Tennis Canada is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year as stewards of the game in this country. Over the next several weeks, we will be honouring Canada’s vast history in tennis and remembering many of the people and moments that have played a role in creating the fabric of Canadian tennis. This is part three of a five-part series.
Throughout the past 125 years, Canadian tennis has enjoyed many iconic, history-making moments for the sport in this country. Moments that put Canada on the international tennis map, moments that brought sports fans from across Canada together, and milestone moments that have helped to grow the sport even more and inspire kids to pick up a racquet. Here we remember many of these moments and achievements through time:
1913 – Canada, led by Robert Powell and Bernard Schwengers, makes the Davis Cup semifinals in its first year of participation.
1931 – Jack Wright, one of the most influential and successful players of his time, wins his third and final Canadian International singles championship.
1954 – Lorne Main captures the title at the prestigious Monte-Carlo Open, forerunner to today’s Masters 1000 event.
1958 – Robert Bedard wins the Canadian Open and is the last homegrown male player to have ever lifted the trophy.
1968 – Mike Belkin makes the Australian Open quarter-finals. Belkin was the top-ranked Canadian in the late 60s and early 70s, excelled on clay, and had wins over players like Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith.
1977 – Canadians Greg Halder and Dale Power upset top seeds and defending champions Fred McNair and Sherwood Stewart of the United States in the first round at Roland Garros.
1983 – Carling Bassett captures the title at Hershey, to become the first Canadian to ever lift a WTA or ATP trophy. She is ultimately named WTA Newcomer of the Year. Bassett would win a second title at Strasbourg in 1987.
1984 – Carling Bassett reaches the US Open semifinals to become the first Canadian in the Open Era to make a Slam semifinal.
1985 – Carling Bassett reaches No. 8 on the WTA rankings and is the first Canadian to hit Top 10 in the world.
1986 – Glenn Michibata rises to world No. 48 to become the first Canadian to be Top 50 in the world on the ATP rankings.
1987 – Canada plays host to the best 32 countries in the world for the week-long Fed Cup competition at Hollyburn Country Club in Vancouver. Germany is ultimately crowned champion while Canada reaches the quarter-finals.
1988 – Canada, captained by Wendy Pattenden, achieves its best Fed Cup result by making the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Czechoslovakia. The team featured Jill Hetherington, Helen Kelesi and Rene Simpson.
1989 – Helen Kelesi reaches No. 13 on the WTA rankings. She is one of just four players, male or female, in Canadian history to hit Top 20 in the singles world rankings.
1989 – Canada clinches the Sunshine Cup – considered the Davis Cup for the under-18 age category – in Florida. The team featured Robert Janecek, Sebastien Lareau, Sebastien LeBlanc, Daniel Nestor and captain Andre Labelle, and was Canada’s first-ever international team championship in non-senior play. The same four players also made the final one year later.
1990 – Canada defeats Netherlands 3-2 in Toronto to make the Davis Cup World Group for the first time in its history. The team featured Grant Connell, Glenn Michibata, and Chris Pridham and was led by captain by Pierre Lamarche and coach Louis Cayer.
1992 – In his Davis Cup debut, 18-year-old Daniel Nestor defeats world No. 1 Stefan Edberg in Canada’s World Group first round tie versus Sweden in Vancouver.
1993 – Grant Connell rises to world No. 1 in the doubles rankings. He is the first Canadian ever to be ranked No. 1 in the world.
1994 – Sonya Jeyaseelan becomes the first Canadian to make a junior Slam singles final at Roland Garros. She ultimately falls to Martina Hingis.
1999 – Sebastien Lareau wins the US Open men’s doubles title with Alex O’Brien to become first Canadian to win a Slam.
2000 – Sebastien Lareau and Daniel Nestor capture the gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games for Canada’s first-ever Olympic tennis medal.
2002 – Daniel Nestor captures the Australian Open with Mark Knowles for his first major.
2003 – Frank Dancevic wins the fifth and deciding rubber in Calgary to give Canada – captained by Grant Connell – the 3-2 victory over Brazil in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs, meaning Canada will compete in the elite World Group for the first time since 1992.
2003 – Sarah Hunter hits No. 2 on the ITF quad world rankings. She remains the highest-ranked wheelchair tennis player in Canadian history.
2007 – Under the leadership of Louis Borfiga, Tennis Canada’s full-time National Training Centre opens at STADE IGA in Montreal, signifying a new focused approach on high performance development in Canada.
2008 – Daniel Nestor wins Wimbledon to complete the career Golden Slam – all four major trophies and an Olympic gold medal.
2008 – Aleksandra Wozniak wins Stanford to become the first Canadian to win a WTA title in 20 years.
2009 – Gabriela Dabrowski claims the U18 Orange Bowl title in Florida. Considered the most prestigious junior title, she is the first Canadian since Carling Bassett in 1982 to win the crown.
2011 – Milos Raonic captures his first career ATP World Tour title at San Jose and subsequently becomes the highest-ranked Canadian male singles player in history at world No. 37. He is named ATP Newcomer of the Year.
2011 – Vasek Pospisil captures his two singles matches plus the doubles rubber with Daniel Nestor to lead Canada to a 3-2 win over Israel in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs, securing the nation a spot in the World Group for the first time since 2004 and starting its current run of five straight years in the upper echelon.
2011 – Daniel Nestor wins the Shanghai Masters to complete his Masters 1000 trophy case. He is the first ATP World Tour player to ever win all nine Masters 1000 events.
2012 – Lorne Main is presented with the first ITF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Seniors Tennis in recognition of his dominance at the seniors tennis level, including a No. 1 world ranking in all age categories from under-50 to over-80 and 39 world championships.
2012 – Eugenie Bouchard and Filip Peliwo capture the junior girls and boys crowns at Wimbledon to become the first Canadians to ever clinch a junior Slam singles title. Peliwo also wins the Junior US Open and goes on to become the first Canadian junior to hit world No. 1 and finish the year in the top spot.
2012 – Daniel Nestor rises back up to world No. 1, becoming the oldest ATP player in singles or doubles to sit atop the world rankings. He remained at No. 1 on his 40th birthday.
2013 – Milos Raonic defeats Vasek Pospisil in an all-Canadian semifinal at Rogers Cup in Montreal to become the first Canadian since 1958 to play in the final of Canada’s biggest tennis tournament.
2013 – Team Canada, captained by Martin Laurendeau, achieves its best-ever Davis Cup result by making the World Group semifinals, ousting Spain in the first round and Italy in the quarter-finals before falling to Serbia in Belgrade.
2014 – Canada defeats Serbia and Slovakia to advance into the eight-team Fed Cup World Group I for the first time ever. Sylvain Bruneau was team captain.
2014 – Eugenie Bouchard becomes first Canadian to make a Slam singles final by reaching the Wimbledon championship match.
2014 – Milos Raonic makes his first Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, the first Canadian man in the Open Era to make the final four in singles at a major.
2014 – Vasek Pospisil becomes just the third Canadian to win a Slam by claiming the Wimbledon men’s doubles crown with Jack Sock, in their first-ever tournament together.
2014 – Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil face off in the first all-Canadian ATP World Tour final at Washington. Raonic prevails to take the title.
2014 – Eugenie Bouchard hits world No. 5 to become the first Canadian to sit inside the Top 5 singles world rankings.
2015 – Milos Raonic rises to a new career-high ranking of world No. 4, the new highest ranking ever held by a Canadian singles player.
2015 – Canada wins two medals at its home Pan Am Games at Aviva Centre in Toronto. Gabriela Dabrowski and Carol Zhao claim gold in women’s doubles while Dabrowski and Philip Bester win silver in mixed doubles.
2015 – Philippe Bedard and Joel Dembe win bronze in men’s doubles at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games to claim Canada’s first-ever wheelchair tennis medal.
2015 – Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov capture the Junior US Open boys’ doubles trophy to become the first all-Canadian duo in 25 years to win a junior major title.
2015 – The Canadian team, featuring Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Benjamin Sigouin and team captain Oded Jacob, wins Junior Davis Cup, the international team competition for the under-16 age category.
Part four of the Tennis Canada 125 series will be a celebration of tennis in Canada outside the professional realm, looking at the sport from its foundation at the community and recreational level.
To view more Canadian tennis moments, visit our 125th anniversary microsite and celebrate with us!