During a press conference on Tuesday reviewing the 2016 season, Louis Borfiga, Vice-President of High Performance at Tennis Canada, Fed Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau, Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau, and Guillaume Marx, Head National Boys’ coach recapped the highlights of the year for Canadian tennis. In total, seven Grand Slam finals in 2016 featured a Canadian.
The top moment of the season was arguably Milos Raonic’s appearance in the Wimbledon men’s singles final opposite Andy Murray. After reaching the semifinals at the All-England Club in 2014 and at the Australian Open in 2016, Raonic became the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final in singles. A few months later, the 25-year-old became the highest ranked Canadian singles player of all-time at no. 3 after advancing to the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
“Milos has not stopped improving since making his debut on the pro tour, he is making every effort to eventually win his first Grand Slam. His achievements in 2016 showed that it’s only a matter of time,” Borfiga said. “He deserves his no. 3 ranking and has proven that he can hold his own against both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.”
For his part, Daniel Nestor added another Grand Slam final to his already glowing resume, finishing runner up at the Australian Open alongside his partner Radek Stepanek. The pair fell to Brit Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares of Brazil in the championship match. Eugenie Bouchard also reached two WTA finals this year in Hobart and Kuala Lumpur.
In addition to Raonic, our juniors also stole the spotlight in 2016. Currently there are four Canadians, aged 16 and 17, ranked inside the top 12 on the ITF world junior rankings: Bianca Andreescu (no. 9), Félix Auger-Aliassime (no. 4), Denis Shapovalov (no. 8), and Benjamin Sigouin (no. 11). On the boys’ side, Shapovalov was crowned junior boys’ champion at Wimbledon and also reached the doubles final with Auger-Aliassime. Shapovalov translated that success to the pro circuit where he won the first three Futures titles of his young career, was a semifinalist at the Drummondville National Bank Challenger, and upset Aussie Nick Kyrgios at Rogers Cup. Auger-Aliassime suffered a heartbreaking loss in the junior Roland-Garros final after holding three match points, but bounced back in impressive fashion to take home his maiden junior Major crown at the U.S. Open a few months later. He was also a doubles finalist in New York with Sigouin.
After missing the first few months of the season with injury, Andreescu picked up where she left off in 2015. She won her first pro titles in singles and doubles this summer at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger and followed that up with a semifinal appearance at the junior U.S Open. The 16-year-old also reached the final of the $50,000 Saguenay National Bank Challenger in October.
“It was a remarkable season for our next generation of players,” Borfiga added. “They have the talent, the determination, and the passion to succeed at the highest level. They have a lot left to accomplish, but the future is bright and they will be motivated to enjoy more success in 2017, a season that will see them play more and more professional tournaments.”