Photo: Martin Sidorjak
While Team Canada presented by Sobeys is mostly made up of veterans, they will have a rookie on their roster when they take on the Netherlands on March 4-5 in a Davis Cup qualifier. That rookie is Quebec’s Alexis Galarneau, a player who just finished his college career with the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the NCAA.
Galarneau, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, says he is delighted with his first selection and the wonderful opportunity to represent his country at Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague, Netherlands:
“I am fulfilling a dream I had growing up,” said Galarneau. “To represent my country, to represent my family on the international scene, to have my teammates on the court, to even have a coach on the court with me, it’s definitely going to be special. I am preparing for anything and my only goal is to take in this experience as much as possible, fit in with the guys and just have fun.”
Although this first participation in international team competition is a novelty for the Laval native, his relationship with the Davis Cup goes back much further. When asked about this competition, he quickly recalls many memories that have impacted him and, above all, have pushed him to become better.
“I actually remember the first time I went to see Davis Cup. It was in Montreal, in 2012, on the National Bank Court and Canada, led by Milos Raonic, was playing South Africa. I was with Felix [Auger-Aliassime] and Nicaise [Muamba], we were sitting right behind the Canadian team and it was amazing. It really motivated me to work harder, it inspired me and it showed me that representing your country is an honour.”
The Canadians’ success in Davis Cup and the country’s rise in the world rankings has had a big impact on Galarneau’s development. While there are now many examples of Canada’s rise and place among the top countries, Galarneau is able to point to a key moment for him: the 2019 Finals in Madrid.
“When Canada made the final against Spain, it confirmed to me that the Canadian players and Tennis Canada were doing good things and that I personally was on the right track. It also showed me that even though my journey was longer because I was going to university in the U.S., I could still succeed. I had confidence in the federation and in the program, we were all in.”
We’ll know more about the match schedule on Thursday when the official draw takes place at 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. ET), but Galarneau will be ready if he’s selected to face one or more members of the Dutch team.
“I have had a strong start to the season. I had a good three-week training camp with Felix in Monaco and when I came home for another three weeks, I was really able to work on my game. I made small corrections on things that, at the end of last season, I definitely realized I needed to improve. I had a good run, especially in Cleveland, where I made the quarter-finals. It showed me that I had worked on the right things and that my hard work was paying off.”
Team Canada’s Davis Cup tie will be broadcast on March 4 and 5 on Sportsnet and in French on TVA Sports. Two singles matches will be played on Friday starting at 2:00 p.m. (8:00 a.m. ET), followed by two more singles matches and possibly a doubles match the next day starting at 1:00 p.m. (7:00 a.m. ET).