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Ontario has produced some great sports talent - with a couple of tennis starts leading the way these days.

sportsgold 100x100By Lauren Wilson

July 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario has an impressive track record when it comes to producing incredible athletes. It’s no surprise that Ontario has given us some of the finest ice hockey players in history, with Bobby Orr hailing from the town of Parry Sound and Wayne Gretzky growing up in Brantford.

Burlington has its own tradition of churning out talented ice hockey players, but sport in Ontario is not all about the puck.

Davis cup

Harvard student Dwight Filley Davis spent $750 for the crafting of a beautiful silver bawl that was completed on February 9, 1900. It became the Davis Cup, the premier international team event in men’s tennis. It is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and is contested annually between teams from competing countries in a knock-out format.

Canada has made massive waves in the tennis world in recent years, to the point where the nation reached the Davis Cup final in 2019. It took a strong Spain side, featuring a certain Rafael Nadal, to stop Canada from winning tennis’ premier team competition, with the youthful nature of the Canadian side boding well for the country’s future.

Quebec has played its part in making Canada a powerful tennis nation in the 21st century, with Eugenie Bouchard and Felix Auger-Aliassime both Montreal natives. However, Ontario has played an even more prominent role. Here’s a look at two tennis stars who have enjoyed highly successful careers in recent times, and two younger players who appear destined for greatness.
The established stars: Daniel Nestor and Milos Raonic

Daniel Nestor was born in Belgrade in 1972, but he made Toronto his home at a very early age. The adopted Ontario citizen became one of the sport’s greatest doubles players of all time, accumulating some incredible statistics during his career. Nestor became the first ATP doubles player to win 1000 matches, and he was ranked in the top 100 of the doubles rankings for 1134 consecutive weeks between April 1994 and April 2018.

That’s mind-boggling, but it gets even better; Nestor became the first player in doubles history to win every Grand Slam, every Masters event, the Tour Finals, and the Olympic competition at least once. Nestor’s partnership with Sébastien Lareau secured Canada’s first-ever Olympic tennis medal as they won gold in the 2000 Sydney games – proof of Nestor’s remarkable influence on furthering Canadian tennis.

Cats 3 Milos

Milos Raconic will go down as one of the most formidable tennis players in history.

Nestor amassed 12 Grand Slam titles in total, but such a title has eluded Milos Raonic. From an early age, Raonic was tipped as someone who could dominate men’s tennis. While his serve continues to overpower opponents and will go down as one of the most formidable in history, Raonic approaches his thirties with a 2016 Wimbledon final as his biggest Slam achievement. However, Raonic has still enjoyed a long and successful career on the ATP tour, with his career-high ranking of 3 the best achievement by a male Canadian singles player.

The future prospects: Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu
However, Raonic’s ranking record may be in danger from the 21-year-old Denis Shapovalov, a powerful hitter who grew up in Vaughan. Just like a young Raonic, Shapovalov has been tipped for big things. You’d expect to see Shapovalov among the favourites in online sports betting markets for Grand Slam events for years to come, with Canadian punters hopeful that Shapovalov can go one step further than Raonic and join tennis’ elite group of Slam champions. With a career-high ranking of 13 and a stunning win over Nadal under his belt, the signs look good that Shapovalov can go right to the top.

Cats3 Bianca

Bianca Andreescu, the 19 year old who took the tennis world by storm and stunned Canadians who immediately took her to heart.

Someone who has already got there is Bianca Andreescu, who was born on the shores of Lake Ontario in Mississauga. A 19-year-old Andreescu stormed her way to the US Open title in 2019, emerging as the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title. How can she be included as a future prospect rather than an established star? Andreescu would be right to be aggrieved given her incredible achievements already (sorry, Bianca, if you’re reading this), but there’s still so much more to come from this remarkable talent.

Whereas Raonic appears to be on the decline following an outstanding career, the sky is the limit for Andreescu. CNN agrees that she has all the shot-making ability and the mental strength to go down as one of the all-time greats.

In fact, Ontario could watch two of its own dominate on both the WTA and ATP sides for years to come. The exploits of Andreescu and Shapovalov will no doubt inspire young tennis fans in Burlington to pick up a racket and follow in the footsteps of their fellow Ontarians.

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