Four singles players, two doubles teams qualified to represent Canada
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Tennis Canada announced on Tuesday the names of six athletes nominated to represent Team Canada in tennis at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from July 23 to August 8. The athletes selected are Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, Que.), Vasek Pospisil (Vernon, B.C.), Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON), Leylah Fernandez (Laval, Que.), Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, Ont.) and Sharon Fichman (Toronto, Ont.). They will be accompanied by men’s coach Frank Dancevic and women’s coach Heidi El Tabakh.
Auger-Aliassime, Pospisil, Andreescu and Fernandez all qualified for the singles competitions based on their ATP World Tour and WTA rankings as of June 14, 2021. Andreescu is currently the highest-ranked of the group at No. 7. Auger-Aliassime sits at No. 19 in singles, Pospisil is No. 66, and Fernandez is No. 68. Dabrowski (No. 12) and Fichman (No. 28) were also granted qualification places thanks to their WTA rankings in doubles. In Tokyo, they will be Canada’s main duo in the women’s doubles competition. Based on their combined ranking, Pospisil and Auger-Aliassime also qualified to team up for the men’s doubles event.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will begin a new chapter for Canadian tennis as Andreescu, Fernandez, Fichman and Auger-Aliassime will all participate at the Games for the first time in their careers. As for the others, it will be a second Olympic appearance for Dabrowski (Rio 2016), and a third for Pospisil (London 2012 and Rio 2016). Canada’s only Olympic tennis medal was won at Sydney 2000 where Daniel Nestor and Sébastien Lareau claimed gold in men’s doubles.
“I’m really excited to be representing Canada at my third Olympic Games,” said Pospisil. “I take a lot of pride in representing my country and it was a big goal of mine over the last few years to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. I’m excited for the challenge and to do my best to get a medal this year.”
Auger-Aliassime has had a solid 2021 season thus far, having already reached two finals (Murray River Open and Stuttgart). As for Pospisil, fresh off the back of winning the ATP’s Comeback Player of the Year award for 2020, he will look to build on his performance in Rio de Janeiro five years ago when he came close to medaling in the men’s doubles with Nestor but ultimately finished fourth.
“Representing my country has always been a huge honour for me, but to have the chance to do so at the Olympics is truly a dream come true,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I am very much looking forward to participating in the biggest multi-sports event in the world for the first time in my career.”
On the women’s side, Andreescu and Fernandez are two of the WTA’s most exciting young players. Having made her comeback from injury earlier this year, 2019 U.S. Open Champion Andreescu reached the final of the Miami Open while Fernandez won her maiden WTA title in Monterrey, Mexico. Dabrowski and Fichman have also enjoyed strong starts to the year. Dabrowski reached the doubles final at the Madrid Open and Fichman won the Italian Open in Rome last month.
“I am thrilled and proud to represent my country, Canada, at the Tokyo Olympics,” said Fernandez. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and first started playing tennis. It really is such an honour and something I will never forget.”
The Olympic tennis competition will take place at the Olympic Tennis Centre from July 24 to August 1 with five events: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The entry list for mixed doubles will also be based on ranking but will be determined via an on-site sign-in the week of the event and will comprise athletes who are already participating in one of the other four draws.
“The depth of Canadian tennis right now should have us all on the edge of our seats throughout their whole tournament,” added Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, Marnie McBean. “As you read this list, name by name, you can’t help but realize that this is an amazing line-up of tennis players.”
The tennis team which will represent Canada at Tokyo 2020 includes:
|Bianca||Andreescu||Mississauga, Ont.||Women’s Singles|
|Gabriela||Dabrowski||Ottawa, Ont.||Women’s Doubles|
|Leylah Annie||Fernandez||Laval, Que.||Women’s Singles|
|Sharon||Fichman||Toronto, Ont.||Women’s Doubles|
|Félix||Auger-Aliassime||Montréal, Que.||Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles|
|Vasek||Pospisil||Vernon, B.C.||Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles|
|Heidi||El Tabakh||Toronto, Ont.||Women’s Tennis Coach|
|Frank||Dancevic||Niagara Falls, Ont.||Men’s Tennis Coach|
Prior to being named to the final Canadian Tokyo 2020 Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations.
What they said
I’m really excited to be representing Canada at my third Olympic Games. I take a lot of pride in representing my country and it was a big goal of mine over the last few years to qualify for the Olympic games in Tokyo. I’m excited for the challenge and to do my best to get a medal this year – Vasek Pospisil
I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am to be realizing my goal and dream of competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Competing among the best athletes on the biggest stage in sport is such an honour and I’m completely humbled. I’m also very grateful to be competing alongside Gaby Dabrowski, who is not only a extremely accomplished player but also a long time friend. We competed together years ago and I’m really excited to share the court with her again and create some magic. – Sharon Fichman
I am thrilled to be realizing my dream of playing in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. I can’t wait to compete against the very best teams in the world alongside my fellow compatriot, Sharon Fichman. We teamed up many years ago and we’ve both grown a lot since then, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to share the court together once more and play on what I consider the biggest stage in the world, the Olympic stage. – Gabriel Dabrowski
Representing my country has always been a huge honour for me, but to have the chance to do so at the Olympics is truly a dream come true. I am very much looking forward to participating in the biggest multi-sports event in the world for the first time in my career. –Félix Auger-Aliassime
I am thrilled and proud to represent my country, Canada in the Tokyo Summer Olympics. This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and first started playing tennis. It really is such an honor and something I will never forget. – Leylah Annie Fernandez
It’s a great honor to represent Canada in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the women’s tennis coach. I very much look forward to being reunited with the girls and coaching them against many talented players on this world stage. The caliber of the Canadian team is high and we have a great chance to medal. – Heidi El Tabakh (women’s coach)
It’s a true honor to be leading the Canadian team in the Tokyo Olympics. We’re blessed to be able to compete in such turbulent times. We will cary the flag proudly and shoot for Gold. – Frank Dancevic (men’s coach)