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Canada’s optimism excessive coming into Davis Cup Finals: ‘We have now an opportunity to win it’

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov will probably be staff members once more on the worldwide tennis stage as Canada is about to compete on the 2022 Davis Cup Finals from Malaga, Spain.

The occasion will conclude a gruelling 10-plus month tennis calendar with gamers from eight totally different international locations competing within the staff vs. staff format, ultimately crowning a champion come Sunday.

With rising famous person Auger-Aliassime, now ranked world No. 6, prime 20 expertise Shapovalov and doubles grand slam champion Vasek Pospisil on the roster, the optimism for Canada’s probabilities is at an all-time excessive.

“It’s an extremely sturdy staff, and now we have an opportunity to win it,” says staff captain Frank Dancevic.

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Quebec’s Alexis Galarneau and Gabriel Diallo spherical out the five-player roster.

It’s the primary time that Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov have competed collectively on the competitors since advancing to the finals in 2019 and if he has some gasoline left within the reserves, Auger-Aliassime will probably be relied upon as the highest singles participant.

The Montreal native has been one of many tour’s best opponents this fall, reeling off three consecutive ATP titles with wins in Florence, Antwerp, and Basel.

The immense stretch of tennis earned him a spot within the ATP Finals from Turin, the place he notched his first profession win over Rafael Nadal, earlier than being eradicated by American Taylor Fritz in a decent three-set encounter.

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The good outcomes have additionally meant a considerable workload for the 22-year-old, who’s performed 84 matches to this point.

“He’s had an unimaginable season — now it’s all about managing his vitality,” stated Staff captain Frank Dancevic.

Auger-Aliassime has received 20 of 26 matches because the US Open.

In the meantime, Shapovalov is coming off a busy stretch of his personal.

Regardless of enduring a tumultuous marketing campaign from Might to mid-August, shedding eight of 9 matches, the electrifying left-hander has managed to rebound and salvage his 12 months with sturdy performances on the indoor exhausting courts.

Shapovalov reached two ATP finals this fall, with runner-up finishes in Korea and Vienna, counting on his punishing groundstrokes and potent lefty serve to dictate play.

He additionally has a big-match pedigree, reaching the Wimbledon semifinals a 12 months in the past, and quarterfinals at each the Australian and US Open.

Dancevic, who’s held the title of staff captain since 2017, has had goals of what this staff may someday accomplish, given the younger core of expertise led by the 2 stars.

“You may’t predict the longer term, however they’d a lot potential as younger guys approaching the staff,” acknowledged Dancevic. “They’d enormous video games at a younger age, however on the identical time, to get to the place they’re now, there needed to be a variety of work achieved and a variety of self-motivation.”

Becoming a member of alongside to contribute as the highest doubles possibility is Pospisil, a local of Vernon, B.C.

For the reason that retirement of legendary doubles nice Daniel Nestor, Pospisil has taken over because the established veteran of this staff, and the 32-year-old has proven he has loads of high quality tennis nonetheless forward in his profession.

Pospisil lately captured his eleventh profession ATP Challenger singles title, profitable in Drummondville, Que.

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He’s additionally been probably the most constant presence on the Davis Cup roster, taking part in in 22 ties and 49 matches.

“He’s an actual chief and he’s been a rock for our staff the final 5 years, having some enormous wins,” stated Dancevic.

Pospisil and Auger-Aliassime clinched Canada’s berth into the finals stage again in September, teaming as much as win doubles rubbers over each Korea and Spain.

Whereas Canada boasts strong depth with elite choices in each singles and doubles, a number of groups are with out their finest.

Spain, lacking the presence of each Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, have already been eradicated by Croatia.

Final 12 months’s champions, the Russian Tennis Federation, had been barred from competitors this season as a result of invasion of Ukraine.

Australia, although gifted and harmful, are with out Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios.

In the meantime, Canada will probably be a heavy favorite of their opening quarterfinal tie towards Germany.

The German squad is lacking 2020 US Open finalist and former world No. 2 Alexander Zverev, who suffered a severe foot harm earlier this 12 months at Roland Garros. The staff’s prime singles participant is world No. 65, Oscar Otte.

If Canada advances to the semifinals, they may face the winner of Italy and the USA.

The Italians have an intriguing mixture of firepower and finesse with standout singles gamers Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti.

Meantime, the American squad bears a placing resemblance to Canada; they’ve a younger prime 10 presence in Taylor Fritz, a stunning shot maker in Frances Tiafoe, and doubles slam champion Jack Sock, who in actual fact received Wimbledon in 2014 whereas partnering with Vasek Pospisil.

For Dancevic, he’s already seen his present staff yield outcomes with a finals run in 2019, and isn’t solely assured within the skillset but additionally their make-up.

“We have now mixture of expertise and youth — now we have an amazing vibe getting into,” mused the captain. “Over time we’ve grown as a staff and gotten to know one another higher and bonded.”

Canada has twice reached the finals of this storied occasion (1913 and 2019).

The fitting mix of expertise, pedigree and confidence could push them to the coveted trophy in Malaga.

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