Photo : Martin Sidorjak
If there were any remaining doubts about Vasek Pospisil’s importance to the Canadian Davis Cup team, they should all be erased following his inspiring performance against the Republic of Korea on Tuesday.
Canada’s elder statesman this week in Valencia was the star in a hard-fought 2-1 victory in the opening tie of the prestigious competition, winning both of his matches from the brink of defeat. In singles, he defeated Seong-Chang Hong 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) after a sluggish start to give his team a 1-0 lead. Pospisil returned to the court several hours later to play the decisive doubles contest alongside Félix Auger-Aliassime, who was going to need a boost after losing his singles match to put Canada in a precarious position. The pair appeared well on their way to a straight sets triumph but faltered just before the finish line. They quickly found themselves down a break in the third set and were seemingly fading fast. Despite an ailing shoulder and growing fatigue, Pospisil found some of his trademark energy and passion to propel a crucial comeback over Nam Jisung and Song Min-Kyu.
It was virtually a must-win tie for Canada against Korea if they hope to advance to the knock-out stage of the Davis Cup Finals in a tough Group B and it was their veteran leader who stepped up yet again when they needed him most.
Bringing Out the Best in Him
This isn’t the first time that Pospisil has risen to the occasion at Davis Cup, and it probably won’t be the last. In fact, he’s created a career’s worth of memorable moments while representing his country. From Group I ties played in hostile environments at smaller venues across South America to the World Group stage and now the Finals, the 32-year-old native of Vernon, British Columbia has seen it all and has accepted the challenge every step of the way.
He’s the heart and soul of the squad, he leads by example and can carry his teammates with grit and determination alone. Even when he’s struggling to find his game or dealing with injuries, as has been the case this season, Pospisil finds a way to lift his level when he puts on the red and white.
His first Davis Cup nomination came in 2008. Fast forward 14 years later and he’s now appearing in his 24th tie for Canada. On Tuesday, he earned his 21st and 22nd career victories in an event that has meant so much to him.
Not so long ago, Pospisil was the young rising star joining the Canadian squad as a rookie alongside Milos Raonic. Now, he’s the one welcoming the likes of Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Alexis Galarneau and Gabriel Diallo to the team with open arms and an attentive ear. During the early days, Pospisil could look up to the legendary Daniel Nestor. Together, they were one of the most prolific doubles duos in Canadian Davis Cup history who played their fair share of thrilling matches.
He’s since been imparting all that experience and wisdom from one of tennis’ all-time greats to his youthful teammates who will soon be taking over the reins. Until then, Pospisil will continue to represent his country with immense pride all while playing a vital part, both on and off the court, in the group’s collective success.