Photo: camerawork usa
The Davis Cup Finals kick off this week, and Team Canada presented by Sobeys is ready to get things rolling in Madrid, Spain. The team turned heads at the last installment of the event as they defeated Italy, the USA, Australia, and the Russian Tennis Federation en route to clinching a spot in the 2019 finals.
Vasek Pospisil, who had an impressive Davis Cup Finals campaign in 2019 (5-2 record), will be back in the Spanish capital alongside teammates Brayden Schnur, Peter Polansky, and Steven Diez as they hope to go one better.
Here’s what Team Canada’s players accomplished during their 2021 seasons:
The 2020 ATP Comeback Player of the Year had a steady season and managed to match his singles win total from 2018 – the year before his back surgery. Pospisil’s eight wins included an inspiring comeback victory over Fabio Fognini of Italy in the opening round of the 2021 US Open. After dropping the first two sets to the then-World No. 31, Pospisil roared back to steal the match 2-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(4). The Vernon native added a finals appearance to his season as he and partner Austin Krajicek of the United States reached the championship match at the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Rhode Island in doubles.
Schnur, from Pickering, Ontario, spent most of his season playing in ATP Challengers, in both the singles and doubles categories. He had a respectable 15-17 record in singles and made the PotchOpen I finals in Potchefstroom, South Africa in doubles, but lost the match in a third-set tiebreaker alongside Canadian partner Polansky. Schnur got to see some action on the ATP Tour, qualifying for the main draw at the Hall of Fame Open, the Moselle Open, and the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto.
Just like Schnur, Polansky’s 2021 season was mostly played on the ATP Challenger Tour. The Toronto native got off to a red-hot start in February, making the finals at the PotchOpen in doubles and the quarter-finals in singles. He went on to find most of his success on the doubles side, reaching five finals and capturing the title on two of those occasions. Another part of his strong start to the season was a remarkable win over Kevin Krawietz (No. 19) and Jan-Lennard Struff (No. 53) in the round-robin of the ATP Cup. Polansky and partner Diez defeated the all-German duo by a score of 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 10-3.
Apart from an appearance in the qualifying rounds of the National Bank Open and the US Open, Diez was duking it out overseas during his 2021 season. Diez’s season highlights include his win over Krawietz and Struff at the ATP Cup in February as well as his final appearance in Gran Canaria, Spain. The Toronto native, who resides in Spain, lost in the finals of the Gran Canaria 1 Challenger in a thrilling 7-6(5), 7-6(3) championship match. Diez will look to keep that momentum on Spanish soil going at this year’s Davis Cup Finals.