The Current

Davis Cup win tells the story of Canada's bright tennis future, says Auger-Aliassime

Felix Auger-Aliassime is ascending to tennis greatness, and he says his story is indicative of what’s happening across Canadian tennis.

The tennis star says there are more big wins to come from Canada’s tennis talent

Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime, middle, celebrates his straight-sets victory over Australia's Alex de Minaur on Nov. 27 in Spain that lifted Canada to its first Davis Cup championship. (Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is ascending the tennis ranks, and he says his story is indicative of what's happening across Canadian tennis.

"We've seen it coming more and more in the last years. Canadian tennis has been looking really good," Auger-Aliassime told Matt Galloway on The Current

Auger-Aliassime and the rest of his Canadian teammates are coming off a historic win for the country. Canada won the Davis Cup, a team tennis tournament, for the first time ever in Malaga, Spain, at the end of November. 

"The fact that it was Canada's first Davis Cup was a special for all of us. I was really happy that I was able to be a part of it. It's for sure a moment that I'll remember for a very long time," said Auger-Aliassime.

"I hope it's not the last one. I hope we can repeat it, but it was very special."

And Auger-Aliassime has been having his own success as well. The 22-year-old from Montreal is ranked sixth worldwide, coming off four singles titles in the year, including a win against tennis legend Rafael Nadal.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime takes down Nadal for 1st win at ATP Finals:

Auger-Aliassime takes down Nadal for 1st win at ATP Finals

1 year ago
Duration 2:34
Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime (1-1) beat Spain's Rafael Nadal (0-2) 6-3, 6-4 to earn his first win at the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.

Canada's rise

Auger-Aliassime is one of many Canadian young stars that have produced major wins over the past decade.

In 2019, Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam, taking home the title at both the U.S. Open and the Canadian Open. In 2021, then-19-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez finished as runner-up at the 2021 U.S. Open and defeated the best-ranked player in the world, Naomi Osaka.

And 23-year-old Denis Shapovalov, ranked 18th worldwide, is keeping his Canadian teammate company on the world leader board. The ATP Country Rankings place Canada in eighth. 

Auger-Aliassime credits the rise of Canadian talent with an increase in funding and resources, and then seeing stars like Milos Raonic find enormous international success. 

"Then after that, just a lot more players kept coming in the years after and I think that's just a testament of all the work and the investment."

Women's tennis player smiles and points into crowd after a win.
Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez, shown in this September 2021 file photo, won two events in 2022 earning one of Tennis Canada's Players of the Year awards. (Seth Wenig/The Associated Press)

Auger-Aliassime hopes his success, and the success of his teammates, can continue to fuel growth in the sport.

"We were not looked at as a nation of tennis players that was successful in the tennis scene, and now we're one of the best — if not the best — this year," he said.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime clinches Canada its 1st Davis Cup title:

Auger-Aliassime clinches Canada its 1st Davis Cup title

1 year ago
Duration 2:11
Felix Auger-Aliassime rolled through the clinching match in straight sets to get Canada its first-ever Davis Cup championship.

"I hope that this [Davis Cup] win also brings us further and that [it] inspires kids to also dream big and achieve great things in the sport." 

As for Auger-Aliassime, he plans to continue his rise to the top with his mind set on improving as a tennis player. 

"That's actually the most I can do, is just try to be better with the things that I control," he said. But Auger-Aliassime also has some future titles wins in mind.

"To win [ATP Tour] Masters 1000, Grand Slams, those are things that are next on my list of things to win first. Of course it's a big challenges, but I'm looking forward to next year to try and do that."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him by email at philip.drost@cbc.ca.

Produced by Susan McKenzie

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