Photo : Jordan Leigh
With Wimbledon upon us, the Canadians competing in The Championships, will not only be looking for strong results in singles, but also in doubles on the heels of three final appearances at Roland-Garros in women’s, mixed, and wheelchair quad doubles.
Bianca Andreescu, Leylah Annie Fernandez, and Rob Shaw more than admirably carried the Canadian doubles torch in Paris and added to their nation’s longstanding tradition of success in the discipline. They’ll be looking for more at the All-England Club.
Daniel Nestor and Sébastien Lareau
Daniel Nestor set the standard for doubles excellence not only in Canada but on the international scene as well. He’s one of a select few who have completed the career Golden Slam, winning all four Majors, and an Olympic gold medal during his legendary career. He earned a total of 91 doubles titles with 11 different partners and became the first doubles player in ATP history to win 1000 matches.
Nestor stood atop the podium at the 2000 Sydney Olympics alongside his compatriot Sébastien Lareau who also captured the 1999 U.S. Open men’s doubles crown with American Alex O’Brien. Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil joined Canada’s prestigious Grand Slam club in 2014 when he won Wimbledon with American Jack Sock after pulling off an impressive upset victory over the top-ranked Bryan brothers, one of the most decorated teams in tennis history. Pospisil and Sock were also crowned champions at Indian Wells the following year.
Ottawa native Gabriela Dabrowski has been a bona fide Top 10 doubles player on the WTA Tour for the past few seasons and has the hardware to go along with her ranking. She is a two-time mixed doubles Major winner (2017 French Open and 2018 Australian Open) and became the first Canadian woman to lift a Grand Slam trophy.
The 31-year-old is a two-time Olympian, has reached a career-high ranking of no. 4 in the world, won a total of 12 WTA doubles titles, and been a stalwart and a leader on Canada’s Billie Jean King Cup squad since 2013.
Before her, Jill Hetherington was a three-time Grand Slam doubles finalist. Meanwhile, Sharon Fichman, Dabrowski’s Billie Jean King Cup teammate, holds four WTA doubles titles and twice took home junior Grand Slam doubles crowns with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2006. Andreescu, Eugenie Bouchard, and Carol Zhao are all former junior Major winners in doubles as well.
With Fernandez emerging as a legitimate threat at the biggest tournaments week after week alongside Taylor Townsend, Canada’s doubles legacy is in good hands going forward. A little more Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov together on the court won’t hurt either. It’s only a matter of time before another Canadian Grand Slam champion winner is crowned and it will be in part because of the players who paved the way before them.