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Dabrowski won the Grand Slam, helping Canada win the Billie Jean King Trophy on a strong note in 2023

Dabrowski won the Grand Slam, helping Canada win the Billie Jean King Trophy on a strong note in 2023

Doubles star Gabriella Dabrowski has made history on more than one occasion this season to cement her place in the Canadian tennis record books.

She teamed up with Erin Routliff to become the first Canadian pair to win a Grand Slam women's doubles title last summer at the US Open.

Dabrowski capped her memorable campaign two months later by helping Canada win its first Billie Jean King Trophy.

“It was pretty special, honestly,” Dabrowski said. “It's a moment I'll never forget.”

Layla Fernandez was a force for the Canadian national team in the women's team tennis event in Spain. Canada fought its way into the qualifiers over the weekend before beating Italy 2-0 in the final.

Fernandez, a Montreal native, won all five of her matches while Marina Stakosik of Mississauga, Ont., notched three upset victories. Dabrowski combined with Fernandez in the decisive semifinal to push Canada past the Czechs.

Heidi El Tabakh led a list that also included Montreal native Eugenie Bouchard and Vancouver's Rebecca Marino.

Watch Dabrowski talk to CBC Sports about winning the major title:

Gabriella Dabrowski talks about winning the women's doubles title at the US Open

Gabriella Dabrowski talks to CBC Sports about becoming the first Canadian to win a major title in a women's doubles event at the US Open.

Dabrowski, from Ottawa, was ready if the best-of-three final went the distance, but a doubles match was not required after Stakosek and Fernandez won their singles matches in straight sets.

“I feel like we're up front pretty good, and we're pretty good at carrying momentum pretty quickly,” Dabrowski said.

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Canada made its debut in the annual tournament – ​​formerly known as the Fed Cup – in 1963. The country's previous best finish was a semi-final in 1988.

A group of female tennis players were seen wearing red Canadian clothing and standing with Canadian flags, smiling next to the trophy.  Some wear medals around their necks.  The photo also shows some executives alongside the players.
Canada won the Billie Jean King Cup, the premier international team competition in women's tennis, for the first time in 2023. The country's previous best finish was a semifinal in 1988. (Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

Meanwhile, the Canadian men were unable to repeat their run to the Davis Cup title in 2022. Canada earned an automatic berth in this year's Final Eight as defending champion but was eliminated in the first round by Finland.

It's been a good year on the singles front for Canadian players on the tour.

Both Fernandez and Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime won titles late in the season after experiencing mixed results earlier in the year. Meanwhile, injuries have plagued the campaigns of Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont.

Shapovalov (knee) is on the list of participants in the Australian Open next month, but Andreescu will miss the first major tournament of the season due to a back problem.

“I'm doing whatever I can get [healthy] She said: “As quickly as possible, but unfortunately these things take some time. But I feel very confident in 2024.”

Auger-Aliassime is the highest-ranked Canadian in singles at No. 29 on the ATP Tour. Shapovalov has dropped to 109th, some 30 places ahead of Gabriel Diallo, the six-foot-eight youngster who looks set to take off next season.

Fernandez is currently ranked 35th on the WTA list, while Andreescu has dropped to 95th.

Watch Rotliff's partner, Dabrowski, clinch the US Open title:

Ottawa's Gabriella Dabrowski wins first Grand Slam women's doubles title at US Open

Ottawa's Gabriella Dabrowski and partner Erin Routliff, who represents New Zealand but previously represented Canada, beat Germany's Laura Siegemund and Russia's Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (9), 6-3 to capture their first Grand Slam women's doubles title in only their fourth tournament. . together.

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In wheelchair tennis, ninth seed Rob Shaw is the only Canadian in the top 10. He won the silver medal in the men's quad category at the Parapan AM Games.

Meanwhile, Dabrowski is back in top form after struggling with back pain and some pairwise changes at the start of the season.

Currently ranked eighth in the world, she played some tournaments with Rotliff – who grew up outside Toronto – before they won their final Grand Slam of the season.

“I'm really proud of the way we've come together — our coaches call it unconditional support for each other — so I feel really grateful,” Dabrowski said in a recent interview.

Routliff, a dual citizen, was born in New Zealand and moved to Canada when she was a young girl. She represents New Zealanders at international level but has strong Canadian roots, having taken up the sport while living in Caledon, Ontario, and training at the National Tennis Center in Montreal.

The duo, seeded 16th in New York, beat Fernandez and American Taylor Townsend in the quarter-finals – winning 10-8 in a tie-break – on their way to the title.

“I think having an open line of communication enabled us to perform at our best under some of the most stressful moments I have ever experienced on a tennis court,” Dabrowski said.

They added another title a month later in Zhengzhou, China and plan to play a full season together in 2024.

“I hope this is the beginning for us,” Rotliff said.

Off the court, Tennis Canada CEO Michael Downey will retire at the end of the year. Gavin Ziff, who served as the organization's senior vice president and chief tournament officer, will assume the position.

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