2017 was a great year for Canadian tennis. It saw the emergence of a new generation of talent, the success of both the Fed Cup and Davis Cup teams as well as a number of firsts for our players. In fact, six players broke into the Top 200 for the first time in their careers and an impressive total of 11 Canadian players finished 2017 ranked in the Top 200.
As we are slowly getting ready for the 2018 season to begin, let’s look back at the Top 10 Canadian Tennis Moments of 2017.
Arguably no one had a better summer in 2017 than Canadian NextGen star Denis Shapovalov. Not only did the 18-year-old win three titles on home soil earlier in the year, he also made remarkable runs at both the Rogers Cup in Montreal and the US Open.
Denis fought his way into the semi-finals at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, where he notably defeated Juan Martin del Potro (no. 31) and Rafael Nadal (no. 2) along the way. In doing so, he became the youngest semi-finalist at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
Hot off his performance in Montreal, Denis qualified for the main draw and notably beat world no. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on route to reaching the fourth round at the US Open. This accomplishment made him the youngest male competitor to make the round of 16 at the US Open since Michael Chang in 1989.
Gabriela Dabrowski had a career-year in 2017. She notably became the first female Canadian player to win a Grand Slam title, not including junior titles, when she was crowned mixed doubles champion at the French Open with her partner Rohan Bopanna.
She also won two WTA doubles titles, finished the season ranked no. 18 in doubles and participated in the WTA Finals, which featured the eight best doubles teams of the year.
At just 16 years, 10 months, Félix Auger-Aliassime became the seventh youngest player in history to capture an ATP Challenger title at the Open de Sopra Steria in Lyon, France.
After being sidelined for a few weeks due to an injury, Félix came back in force to capture his second ATP Challenger title in Seville. With this victory, he became the third player in history to win multiple Challenger titles by the age of 17, joining Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet in this exclusive club.
Thanks to strong performances from Françoise Abanda and Bianca Andreescu, the Canadian Fed Cup team earned a spot in the World Group II for 2018 by defeating a powerful Kazakh team. They team also benefitted from the services of other young of players throughout the year including Charlotte Robillard-Millette, Katherine Sebov, Carol Zhao and Gabriela Dabrowski.
Canadian teens Bianca Andreescu and Carson Branstine teamed up in 2017 to capture two junior Grand Slam doubles titles, at the junior Australian Open and the junior French Open.
The Canadian duo also reached their first WTA doubles final in Quebec City, where they eliminated the tournament’s second seeds along the way.
The Canadian Davis Cup team earned a spot in the World Group for an impressive seventh consecutive year. The men’s team was led by Denis Shapovalov, Vasek Pospisil, Daniel Nestor and Brayden Schnur in their crucial encounter against India.
Despite a modest record of 26 wins and 20 losses in 2017, Vasek Pospisil earned the biggest win of his career when he upset World No. 1 Andy Murray in the second round at Indian Wells. The Canadian, who had to qualify to get into the main draw, ousted the Brit in straight sets.
This marked the first time since 1992 (Daniel Nestor vs. Stefan Edberg in Davis Cup action) that a Canadian defeated a current World No. 1 player.
Bianca Andreescu became the youngest Canadian since 1988 to win a main draw match at a WTA tournament when she made a deep run to the quarter-finals at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. She notably eliminated Camila Giorgi (no. 83) and the tournament’s second seed Kristina Mladenovic (no. 13) along the way.
By defeating Mladenovic, Bianca became the first player born in 2000 to beat a Top 20 player. Thanks to her impressive performance she was voted WTA Breakthrough of the Month for July.
In 2017, four Canadian players captured their first career Challenger titles, a significant step in their young careers. Denis Shapovalov kicked off the movement when he won the title in Drummondville, defeating his compatriot and good friend Félix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals. A few months later, it was Félix’s turn to capture his first Challenger title in Lyon, becoming the seventh youngest player to do so. Finally, it was Carol Zhao and Filip Peliwo who took home their first Challenger titles on the same day, in Shenzhen and Tennessee respectively.
Eugenie Bouchard’s most significant victory of the season came against her childhood idol Maria Sharapova. She defeated the former World No. 1 for the first time in her career at the WTA Premier Mandatory event in Madrid. The tight three-set match is considered one of the best WTA matches of the year.
Feature image: Pierre Fortier