Tennis reached Canada in the late 19th century. The first club created was the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (1875). Three short years later, the first tournament was held in Montreal, and in the 1880s, a plethora of new clubs was formed across Canada. The Canadian Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA), also known as Tennis Canada, was established in 1890. As the years went by, things continued to change for the better. Nowadays, highly prestigious tournaments are held on Canadian soil. Rogers Cup is one of them, which was formerly known as the Canadian Open.
An event for thousands
Today, a more familiar name for the Canadian Open is the National Bank Open. It is held annually in different Canadian cities and alternates between different types of courts. The National Bank Open is Canada’s premier tennis tournament and one of the largest ATP tournaments in the world. Presented by National Bank, it is Canada’s only ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament with a prize pool of approximately $5,000,000, of which $1 million is for the men’s division. The tournament attracts famous players from around the world and offers premium seating and entertainment for fans of all ages. For more than 100 years, this prestigious event has welcomed thousands of visitors to Toronto and Montreal every summer.
The great players of the tennis culture in Canada
The tennis culture in Canada managed to produce some great players that reached the upper echelon of the world rankings. Looking at the rankings for these past few years, we can see that Eugenie “Genie” Bouchard is a player that deserves praise. In 2014, she was ranked number 5. Although she could not stay in the top 10, she has won more than $6 million in her career so far. Keep in mind that she is still only 27 years old, and we expect great things from her in the near future.
Canadian men’s tennis is faring better than women’s tennis, and that is mostly because of Milos Raonic. The Montenegrin-born is currently ranked 18th, but in November 2016, he was ranked 3rd in the world. His best result was reaching the Australian Open semi-finals and Wimbledon finals in 2016. The 30-year-old has won more than $18 million in his career so far, and unfortunately, the only reason holding him back is the injuries that have been bothering him for quite some time. Raonic is known for having one of the strongest serves in the history of the game, and many legends like Pete Sampras and Serena Williams have praised him for the almost unstoppable serve. He has been compared to Isner and Karlovic due to the similar playstyle.
Canada, a future tennis superpower?
2019 is a year that the tennis fans in Canada are enjoying to the maximum. The surge of new players showing great results has caught the attention of people all over the world. Wile Raonic and Bouchard have become established players with successful careers, the next wave of players is about to take over. Bianca Andreescu, Denis Shapovalov, and Felix Auger-Aliassime are all aged 20 and under, caught the world by the storm. Andreescu was ranked number 22 in 2019, and it was an incredible year for her. She won the Indian Wells Masters in March 2019, becoming the first wild card ever to win this prestigious tournament. Everything was going wonderfully for her, as she managed to defeat Bouzkova in the first round of the French Open in three sets. However, a shoulder injury forced her to withdraw from the tournament and try to prepare for the upcoming grass-court tourneys.
In 2021, however, Bianca suffered another on-court injury. This time she injured her ankle. This happened at the Miami Open 2021. Despite this, the tennis player still ranks 7th in the ranking of the best tennis players in the world.
Denis Shapovalov is an astonishing young man that is conquering the tennis world one game at a time. The Russian-born is currently ranked number 15, and it seems that this is just the tip of the iceberg. So in 2020, he reached 10th place. That helped him become the youngest tennis player to reach that level. The last time that record was broken was in 2005. The world first remembered his name at the 2017 Rogers Cup, where he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro, Adrian Mannarino, and the tennis legend Rafael Nadal. However, he could not win the entire tournament, as Alexander Zverev stopped him in the semis. 2019 was looking very bright for the young Canadian, as he reached the 3rd round in the Australian Open. In Roland Garros, he was unfortunately defeated by Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, in three straight sets, but the hopes are high that in the next Grandslams, his performances will improve exponentially.
Félix Auger-Aliassime is the last member of the future Canadian trio, and all three of them are expected to become bona fide stars. As of June 2021, he is ranked number 21 in the world, and the 2019 year has become the breakout year for him after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas (ranked 5th at the time) in straight sets at the Indian Wells Masters. His greatest Grandslam achievement was reaching the first round of the U.S. Open in 2018. The future seems very bright for these three young and talented tennis players from Canada. Many experts are surprised by the fact that Canada, which was relatively unknown for producing top-tier tennis talent, may have found their future stars.
Children of immigrants
All three players have one thing in common; they are children of immigrants. While this may be something of a coincidence, one thing that is for certain is the work ethic that they have is almost unmatched among younger tennis players from Canada. Another great feat worth pointing out is that Andreescu and Auger-Aliassime are just twenty years old, while Shapovalov is twenty-two. If they continue playing at the level that they have been playing so far, we can expect them to become the next Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Many people think that it is quite early to give them such epithets. We have to remember that even legendary players like Federer and Williams were once young and inexperienced. The hype about the future of tennis in Canada has caught the eye of many experts. The verdict remains to be seen in the next few years.
The current success is attributed to the great programs that Tennis Canada has provided to young players. However, taking into consideration that countries with more money and experience have failed to produce great players consistently, we can safely say that this topic is more complicated because money does not guarantee success. It also has to do with pure and dumb luck, to put it in layman terms. The combination of many factors has produced players like Novak Djokovic, a perennial superstar. Maybe the North-American country has found the recipe of success, and this is just the beginning of a new wave that will sweep the tennis world. Based on the abovementioned points, we have plenty of reasons to feel hopeful and positive about the future.
Cool facts about the Rogers Cup
Rogers Cup is held on Canadian soil, and despite not being as famous as the four worldwide famous Grandslams, it holds the title as the third oldest tournament in the world. Four years after Wimbledon, and only two weeks after the US Open. All the profits earned in the tournament are used to develop tennis in Canada further. The most successful player of the Rogers Cup is Ivan Lendl, who won the tournament an astonishing six times.