Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Canada takes home the Davis Cup and ATP Cup titles, boasts five players in the ATP and WTA top 50s and sends two to the ATP and WTA season-ending championships.
Earlier today, Tennis Canada held its traditional annual review to turn the spotlight on the high points of the 2022 season. Eva Havaris, Vice President of Participation and Partnerships; Sylvain Bruneau, Head of Women’s Pro and Transition Tennis; and Guillaume Marx, Head of Performance; each led a detailed analysis of a range of aspects of Canadian tennis, including the year’s most memorable performances, structuring programs, elite development, tournament success and early participation.
Team Canada crowned Davis Cup champions
After successfully qualifying for the Davis Cup Finals by Rakuten held in Malaga from November 22 to 27, Team Canada dismantled Germany, Italy and Australia in back-to-back wins to secure its very first Davis Cup title in 109 years. Five Canadians selected by captain Frank Dancevic were crowned world champions: Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montréal, QC), Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), Vasek Pospisil (Vernon, BC), Alexis Galarneau (Laval, QC) and Gabriel Diallo (Montréal, QC).
Together, they made Canada the 16th nation to win the world’s most prestigious international team tennis competition, in which 138 countries participated this year. The triumph automatically qualifies Canada for the 2023 Finals. Along with Australia (finalist), Italy and Spain, Canada advances directly to the group stage that gets underway on September 11, 2023. The squad will be in the mix with the 12 countries that survive their Qualifier ties in February.
ATP Cup champions
At the start of the 2022 season, the Canadian quadrumvirate of Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov, Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez defeated Spain 2–0 in the final to win the ATP Cup and make Canada only the third country to claim the title, which was inaugurated in 2020. Fun fact: with the Davis Cup victory, Canada became the first country to win both leading team tennis events in the same season.
Auger-Aliassime at the Nitto ATP Finals
On the heels of a strong 2022 season in which he raised his first four ATP winner’s trophies (three of which he won consecutively in the whirlwind of an impressive 16-match winning streak), Auger-Aliassime punched his ticket to the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Italy. Even though he made an exit at the end of the group stage, his participation represents a major achievement since it marked the Quebecer’s very first appearance at the renowned year-end championship. The 22-year-old closed the year out at a career-high ranking of World No.6. In 2022, he chalked up wins over the likes of No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, No.2 Rafael Nadal, No.5 Novak Djokovic, No.7 Andrey Rublev, No.12 Alexander Zverev, No.14 Cameron Norrie and No.15 Jannik Sinner.
Team Canada returns to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals
In April, Canada qualified for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals by Gainbridge for the second straight year with a win over Latvia. As one of the 12 countries battling for the title in Glasgow, Scotland, Team Canada was powered by Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC), Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON), Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC), Carol Zhao (Vaughan, ON) and Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON). Despite an initial win over Italy, the squad fell 2–1 to eventual champion Switzerland in the last tie of the group stage.
Five Canadians in the top 50s
Five Canadians ended the season in the ATP or WTA Top 50. On the men’s side, joining No.6 Auger-Aliassime is No.18 Shapovalov, who competed in two ATP finals in 2022 and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last January. In the WTA, Fernandez (winner in Monterrey 2022) is World No.40 in singles, and Andreescu is No.45. In doubles, Dabrowski ended the season at No.7 after taking home three titles in 2022, including the prestigious Mutua Madrid Open WTA 1000 crown. She also competed in the WTA Finals in doubles and won her third Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award, an award given by the WTA in recognition of her work in supporting her colleagues and the tour initiatives.
A special nod goes to Marino, who wrapped up 2022 as World No.65. It was a meteoric rise from No.144 in January for the woman who found her way back to pro tennis in 2017 after a four-year hiatus. In 2011, she hit a career-high ranking of No.38.
Record attendance at the National Bank Open in Montréal and Toronto
After being cancelled in 2020 and then presented at limited capacity in 2021, the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montréal and Toronto was finally able to welcome back all its fans. The results were spectacular: the tournament in Montréal broke its own attendance record (237,733 visitors), and the Toronto event set a new attendance record for a women’s championship (143,516 visitors). The National Bank Open is also on firm footing for the future thanks to major federal funding of $9.3 million for the tournament in Toronto and $10 million for Montréal. The investments will help the Canadian Open upgrade its infrastructure and place the tournament in a better position to ensure its long-term success.
Enhancing tennis facilities across Canada
Making tennis courts across the country more accessible to Canadians is among Tennis Canada’s top priorities for the coming years, and the organization was very proactive in that regard in 2022. This year, it announced the first tennis court projects launched as part of the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers. The cities of Markham (ON), Ancaster (ON) and Calgary (AB) recently inaugurated their new public indoor tennis facilities, and work is currently underway in Waterloo (QC) on courts that are expected to open during the 2023–2024 season.
Tennis Canada also joined forces with National Bank to officially launch the National Bank Play Your Court Program, which aims to make tennis more accessible to all Canadians by revitalizing outdoor community tennis courts. Funded by the National Bank, the initiative provides $3 million to revitalize more than 100 courts by 2030. The first four courts to be revitalized through this program are located at Morris Kerbel Park in Brampton, Ontario.
Canadians excel at home
Canadian tournaments have always aimed to help propel our Canadian athletes to new heights, and they certainly achieved that mission in 2022 as three homegrown heroes took the top honours at Challenger events across the country. Sixteen-year-old Victoria Mboko was the first Canadian to be crowned when she won her very first pro title at the Saskatoon Challenger in July. In August, Diallo also collected his first professional winner’s trophy at the Granby National Bank Championships. Pospisil won his second Challenger of the year in Drummondville in November after earning the title in Quimper (France) earlier in the season.
A promising new generation
This year, at junior tournaments around the world, athletes from the National Tennis Centre presented by Rogers (NTC) have done well on several occasions. Notable performances include Toronto’s Victoria Mboko, who in addition to reaching the junior semifinals at the US Open and Wimbledon in singles, also competed with Kayla Cross of London, Ontario, in the junior doubles finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
The year-end ITF junior rankings are also flattering for NTC athletes as five athletes finished the season inside of the Top 50: Victoria Mboko (6th in girls), Annabelle Xu (32nd in girls), Kayla Cross (34th in girls), Mia Kupres (38th in girls) and Jaden Weekes (48th in boys).
Wheelchair Tennis: Rob Shaw continues to shine
Ontario’s Rob Shaw had another stellar year, finishing 7th in the world rankings in the quad division. This season, he won 6 titles which earned him an invitation to the NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters and the ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters. He became the first Canadian player to qualify for this prestigious tournament since Sarah Hunter in 2004