And on Tuesday, Team Canada presented by Sobies will take another step toward something never before seen in Canadian tennis history.
The title defense heats up when Canada takes on Finland on Tuesday in a do-or-die quarterfinal to kick off the eighth Davis Cup final in Malaga.
While the team knows that becoming the first country in a decade to repeat as champions will not be easy, it does not affect their mentality heading into the week.
“It’s amazing to have the guys together again. Honestly, we don’t feel that much pressure. I think the win was really big for us to get the trophy,” explained captain Frank Dancevic at the team’s introductory press conference.
“Of course it would be great to get it again, to win it this year. We’re not going to back down. We’re going to go 110 percent again. I feel like we’re focused this year, but we also feel more comfortable having won the title. We’re going into this match calmly, and it’s “Obviously we have confidence that we have done that recently, and we have the ability to do it again in the near future.”
For Felix Auger-Aliassime, who He played the best tennis of his career last fall Including during the title race in Malaga, the return to southern Spain is a welcome one.
“It was special to see the court again. It was a special moment for me personally last year, winning the last match to get the title,” said the Canadian No. 1. “It’s always nice to be back. It’s better for me to come back as champions. It’s nice to come back to a place where you have good memories, and we hope that serves us well this week.
Four of the five members of Canada’s championship-winning squad are back: Auger-Aliassime, Gabriel Diallo, Alexis Galarneau and Vasek Pospisil.
The only “new” member of the team as well A familiar face, veteran Milos Raonic Who is making his first appearance with the national team since 2018.
Three members of this Canadian team had never played a game for Team Canada the last time the Rocket from Thornhill wore the red and white (Galarneau, Diallo, and Auger-Aliassime who was nominated in the 2018 game but did not play his first game) for Canada until the following year. ).
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“It’s a pleasure to be back with these guys. What they did last year was incredibly inspiring,” Raonic said. “Anything I can do to help, that will be my greatest joy.”
Canada enters the Davis Cup not only ranked No. 1 on the men’s level, but also on the women’s level after winning the Billie Jean King Cup earlier in November. Canada is currently the sixth country to hold both titles simultaneously.
For the team’s older players like Raonic and Pospisil, this seemed unthinkable not so long ago.
“It’s an amazing time for tennis in Canada right now. We’ve been kind of building to this moment for the last 12, 13, 14 years or even before that.” “I feel like every couple of years we got something, we did better on the big stage.” 2013 semi-final with Milos and Daniel [Nestor] And Frank. “It’s unbelievable.”
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Even young people appreciate Canada’s current success.
As Auger-Aliassime said: “It seemed so far from growing, and I think for Vasek, Milos and Frank, when they were playing, it was hard to imagine. It speaks to how much we have grown as a country in this sport. It was great to see their depth.” [the women’s team] You have the same with Marina [Stakusic] She comes out and plays great tennis in her first Billie Jean King Cup. It shows that it’s not just a few good players. There are many good players in our group.”
The Canadian No. 1 also quipped that the women’s win added motivation for the men’s team, saying “It happens right before we go to the Davis Cup, they’re putting pressure on us now, which is good. It’s good to have men’s and women’s tennis in our country pushing each other up the rankings.” It’s nice to think that we have both men and women No. 1.
Now the men must do their part to ensure Canada remains unified champions for another 12 months, and that means becoming the first team to repeat as Davis Cup champion since the Czech Republic in 2012-13.
“We got here early. We are preparing and trying to be as prepared as possible and maintain the energy we got from winning the title last year,” Dancevic said.
The campaign begins on Tuesday at 4:00pm local time in Malaga, 10:00am EST, against Finland.