Led by Felix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez Team Canada will be a force at the United Cup
Canada aren’t a traditional power in international team tennis, even if they have had their standout stars and Grand Slam winners down the years, but recently that has changed, and two players, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez, have found themselves at the heart of huge team wins.
Auger-Aliassime played a key role in Canada securing their very first Davis Cup trophy in 2022.
Then, in 2023, Fernandez was the cornerstone of Canada’s run to the Billie Jean King Cup.
Although Auger-Aliassime and Fernandez faced difficulties in 2023, the Canadian team is now emerging stronger and demonstrating their talent to the tennis world.
Former world No 6 Auger-Aliassime teams up with Grand Slam winner Fernandez to represent Canada in their nation’s first-ever United Cup appearance in 2024.
They are two of the most captivating players in the professional game, and, at 23 and 21, respectively, they undoubtedly represent the future of tennis in their nation.
A peek into this drive was provided by Fernandez’s stunning two weeks at the US Open in 2021.
During that event, she turned 19 and wowed the New York spectators by defeating a string of formidable opponents, including Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina, and Aryna Sabalenka.
Emma Raducanu ended her run in the final, but Fernandez made the most of that form, reaching world No 13 and qualifying for the quarterfinals of Roland Garros the following year.
Unfortunately, she lost that quarterfinal match in Paris and broke her foot. Her progress was utterly wrecked by an injury that kept her out of commission for more than two months.
It’s been a long road back but in the BJKC Fernandez showed her ability to come through in the clutch.
“We had a very, very hard past couple of years,” Fernandez told the WTA.
“My family, my parents, my coach, and my performance coach stayed by my side. They motivated me to keep going and the hard work is paying off.
“Hopefully, we can keep going this way.”
There have also been challenges for Auger-Aliassime but a late season title at the Swiss Indoors showed that he still had the spark to chase a championship and hopes for higher honours.
“I’m definitely back,” Auger-Aliassime said.
“I let my racquet talk. That’s always been the motto of my career. I’ve had the conviction that I can be a top player since I’m a kid, but there were many doubts this year about my performances and why.
“I’m happy that I was able to prove to everybody that I still belong among the best players in the world, that I can play this level. I never doubted it, but it’s good to confirm it on the court.”
At the United Cup, Canada have been drawn alongside Greece and Chile and they get their campaign underway with their tie against the South Americans on Sunday 31 December 2023.
Among the more eagerly awaited matches scheduled for Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena are the singles matches between Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Fernandez and Maria Sakkari.
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