It’s been a couple of years since the tennis calendar has last gone on as planned. Tournaments being cancelled, delayed, or even moved away to a different city were to be expected in 2020 and in 2021.
While the world is still in the recovery process and borders are still to be open as they were before the pandemic started, things are looking brighter now. It is fair to hope – although maybe not yet to assume – that all tournaments confirmed for 2022 will happen when they are scheduled.
That would mean: the Australian Open happens on January 17, Indian Wells happens in March, Roland Garros three weeks before Wimbledon. And the National Bank Open presented by Rogers is set in stone! (More about the Canadian Open below!)
2019 was obviously a brilliant year: Bianca Andreescu won three titles, among these the US Open, while Denis Shapovalov won his first title in Stockholm. Sharon Fichman and Gaby Dabrowski also scored titles in Jurmala and Nuremberg, respectively.
In 2021 we had many breakthroughs too: Leylah Annie Fernandez won her first WTA title in Monterrey, while Dabrowski and Fichman won WTA 1000 titles in Montréal and in Rome (different partners).
Canadians reached multiple finals this year; there is more than enough reason to believe – no, be confident that our athletes will bring home many more trophies, starting in 2022.
How about a Grand Slam champion? How about two or more? Are we dreaming too big?
We don’t think so. Andreescu, as mentioned, already has a Grand Slam crown herself. Leylah Annie Fernandez showed the world that she not only can win a Grand Slam, but also that she can beat whoever appears in front of her, no matter their ranking or records, and reached the US Open final this year. Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov got closer, both reaching semi-finals this year at the US Open and Wimbledon, respectively.
In doubles? No lack of talent there either. Gaby Dabrowski has already claimed two major trophies in mixed doubles at Roland Garros and the Australian Open. She was also possibly one of the biggest favourites to lift the US Open trophy this year, had her partner Luisa Stefani not suffered a serious knee injury at the semi-final stage.
We are top contenders. We can do this.
Canada’s path to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals was not conventional this year: having beaten Serbia in the play-offs stage led by the heroics of Leylah Annie Fernandez to advance to the Qualifiers, a last tie needed to reach the Finals, Team Canada was getting ready to play again only in 2022. But the universe had other plans.
With Hungary’s withdrawal, Canada took the last spot remaining in the BJK Cup Finals in 2021, as the highest-seeded team in the Qualifiers.
While our team sadly had to miss out on Bianca Andreescu, Leylah Annie Fernandez, who reasonably needed some more time off after a draining season, Team Canada did not disappoint. Rebecca Marino, Françoise Abanda, Gaby Dabrowski, and Carol Zhao went to Prague on a mission: to let the best team decide who advances. The opener versus France, the 2019 champions, was a high-quality tie in which Canada at last won by 2-1.
With players refreshed and ready to go again in 2022, another showing at the Finals is well within grasp. Who knows, maybe even a first title?
After our stars Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov also decided to shorten their seasons for some much-needed rest, Canada found itself in a tough position at the Davis Cup Finals in 2021.
Our players gave their all, and their matches could have tipped either way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, and the heroics of 2019 were not repeated.
However, we are confident that with a more regular season on the horizon, and players hungry for more glory, we will have another go at the Davis Cup—that is, by beating the Netherlands in the Qualifiers stage and progressing into the Finals.
We’re looking forward to it! We’re not too far off from our first-ever Davis Cup title.
After finishing in the Top 5 in singles in 2019, Bianca Andreescu needed time to recover, and the difficult 2021 season meant that the Canadian superstar dropped out of the Top 10 in 2021. It wasn’t to be for Denis Shapovalov either, who for the second time in his career ranked as high as World No. 10 after his first major semi-final at Wimbledon, but could not keep himself up there.
Félix Auger-Aliassime was a victim of the universe in the year-end rankings. He finished agonizingly close to the Top 10, finishing the year as World No. 11. It all was completely outside of his control, and partially outside of Jannik Sinner’s control also, the player who overtook Félix at the end.
Félix was guaranteed a Top 10 finish if Sinner did not win a match at the ATP World Tour Finals, where the Italian was the first alternate. Sinner got his spot in when Matteo Berrettini pulled out due to injury and took full advantage of his opportunity by defeating Hubert Hurkacz. And then, he finished in the Top 10.
Our players are so close; it seems only a matter of time before they all end their seasons inside the Top 10. Félix, Denis, Bianca, and Leylah Annie Fernandez have a great shot at the elite group in 2022!
In the last two editions of the National Bank Open, we have been spoiled, getting to witness two Canadians hoist the trophy: Bianca Andreescu in singles in 2019 in Toronto and Gaby Dabrowski in 2021 in doubles in Montréal.
Why not continue the trend? Maybe even multiple champions this time, both in Montréal and Toronto, doubles and singles! While we’re at it, the dream finals could take place for our ultimate enjoyment: Shapovalov vs Auger-Aliassime, and Andreescu vs Fernandez—the last one a clash we were denied in the second round in 2021, but how much better would it be as a final.
It would be great to see the likes of Fichman and Dabrowski continue their rich vein of form and carry it all the way in 2022. Maybe that would reignite the flame in men’s doubles and our first male champion since Daniel Nestor in 2008 (also the last male finalist in 2015) could arise.