Photo : Manuel Queimadelos / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis
The Davis Cup Finals officially get underway this week in Malaga, Spain, and, for the second time since 2019, Team Canada presented by Sobeys is among the final eight countries in the race for the title of world champions. Last September in Valencia, our national squad led by captain Frank Dancevic ranked second in its round-robin group and punched its ticket for the Knockout Stage. Now, on Thursday November 24 at 10 a.m. ET, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Vasek Pospisil, Alexis Galarneau and Gabriel Diallo will battle Germany in the quarter-finals.
When asked about Canada’s return to the quarters of the prestigious tournament, Frank Dancevic was very clear about the team’s intentions this week: to win the title. Period.
“In 2019, we got to the final [against Spain], and even if our team was pretty young, we got so close to the win,” said Dancevic. “In spite of the loss, we were able to see how good we were as a team and that we could be a threat to the other nations on the court. Fast forward to 2022, and our guys are really motivated, especially since they already got a taste of the Final, and they want to win it. That’s our next goal: to go for the title.”
It only takes a few minutes with Frank to become convinced the world tennis championship is within reach for Canada. With 25 Davis Cup ties under his belt (the third most in the country’s history) before being appointed captain, he helped carry Canada to a lot of success—enough to believe anything is possible. One of his favourite memories as a player provides a striking example.
“As a young kid, it was always my dream to play Davis Cup, and I was super passionate about playing for Canada. That may be why my first big memory in tennis that I feel really changed my career and changed my path was actually a Davis Cup match. In 2003, at 18 years old, I got the chance to play against Brazil in Calgary, and it was a huge deal! At that point, Canada hadn’t been in the World Group for over 10 years and winning that tie would have qualified us for the first time in a decade. Back then, Grant Connell was the captain and my teammates were Daniel Nestor, Simon Larose and Frédéric Niemeyer.
The night before the final day, Grant called me around midnight to inform me that I would play the fifth match if it came down to it, which happened. In a decisive match, I ended up playing against Flavio Saretta, who was No.47 at the time, while I was ranked somewhere between No.500 and No.600. I came out guns blazing, and I ended up winning the match in four sets to qualify us for the World Group. That was a huge confidence boost and a huge turning point in my career. After that win, I went on to win Challenger tournaments, and it made me believe in myself and believe I was capable of winning matches like that.”
Still, Frank Dancevic is well aware that times have changed since then. Today, Canada counts on Top 20 players and significant depth that makes the country a formidable opponent at international competitions. He also knows that none of that would have ever been possible without the donations and investments made by Tennis Canada over the years to give the next generation of Canadian players an edge.
“Our success started years back with the investments we made with the juniors and the younger kids. All the support we are giving them is just giving a boost to the younger generation. Of course, to put it simply, these investments had kind of a snowball effect for the women and the men. Guys like Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil really kickstarted the next generation with Denis and Félix. And now, the kids I’m working with at the National Tennis Centre presented by Rogers are looking up to Denis and Félix. The last 10 to 15 years have been great and awesome for this country, and, if we want to keep this snowball rolling, we need to keep players coming from generation to generation ,” Dancevic said.
GIVING CANADA THE ADVANTAGE
You can help develop the next generation of talented players by making a donation to support Tennis Canada’s programs.
Tennis Canada has just launched its new Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign, which highlights how multiple elements, over time, can give Canada an edge and allow our players to reach the highest levels of the sport.
As part of the campaign, our very own 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will double every donation pledged on November 29 before midnight. Double the advantage for Canadian tennis players of all levels by contributing today.
Thanks to you, the advantage is ours. And thanks to you, that snowball effect won’t lose any of its momentum!
If you have any questions, please contact our fund development team at email@example.com.