Photo: Brett Hemmings
Canada wins their first-ever ATP Cup title!
Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Brayden Schnur, and Steven Diez will be taking home the hardware after an unbelievable week of tennis in Sydney, Australia. After getting swept by the Americans in their opening tie and facing adversity from the get-go, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov orchestrated an improbable comeback for Team Canada, winning their next four ties en route to clinching the country’s best international men’s team tennis victory ever.
On Saturday, Canada upset defending champions Russia in an entertaining deciding doubles match 4-6, 7-5, 10-7. Today’s final against Spain was a little less dramatic, as the Canadians only needed two matches and four sets to seal the deal.
First up, Shapovalov faced Pablo Carreno Busta, an opponent he’s struggled to play against in the past. Carreno Busta won four of their previous five meetings, including two in straight sets. The 30-year-old Spaniard didn’t get to add to that total today, as Shapovalov played an outstanding match, saving 8/9 break points and converting on 3/6 of his own break point opportunities. A 6-4, 6-3 victory against Carreno Busta was Shapovalov’s third win in singles this week and fifth win overall.
Following Shapovalov’s bout with Carreno Busta, Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut took to the court at Ken Rosewall Arena for the last singles match of the tournament. The Canadian has had Bautista Agut’s number recently, beating the Spaniard in the semi-finals in Cologne, Germany, in 2020, and emerging victorious in the third round against Bautista Agut at the 2021 US Open. The theme continued in Sydney, as Auger-Aliassime overpowered his opponent and clinched the ATP Cup for Canada, winning by a score of 7-6(3), 6-3. Auger-Aliassime fired off 15 aces in the win and saved an impressive 10/11 break points faced.
Once the on-court ceremony concluded, the players spoke to the media, and Auger-Aliassime summed up the week perfectly.
“It was a tough start, but at the end, things came in together well after that first tie that we lost 3-0. We bounced back really well against Great Britain. Then I think from that moment we started gaining more and more belief. Of course, being so close to being out of the group and then coming out, you’re kind of on that survival mode and I think we just carried that all the way through to today.”
Getting shut out by the Americans to start the event and closing out the tournament with a sweep over Spain was a fitting way to end the week for the relentless Canadians.