Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard lead massive surge in Canadian tennis participation - UBITENNIS
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Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard lead massive surge in Canadian tennis participation

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Eugenie Bouchard has been cited as one of the main factors in encouraging people to take up tennis in Canada. (Zimbio.com)

Tennis Canada has recently released figures showing that the number of young people picking up a tennis racket in Canada has jumped massively in the last few years is record-breaking for the North American nation.

 

According to the nation’s governing body, more than 160,000 boys and girls under the age of twelve were identified as playing the sport regularly in 2016. Tennis Canada defines regular play as at least once a week over a period of eight weeks. It reflects a massive increase of more than 23% since 2014.

Some of this can be attributed to the impacts of Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard, who have both put Canadian tennis on the world stage by reaching the Top Ten of the ATP and WTA rankings respectively. Bouchard reached a Wimbledon final, the first Canadian to reach a singles grand slam final in the Open Era, whilst Raonic can boast a current Top Five ATP ranking and a grand slam final at Wimbledon last year.

Hatem McDadi, senior vice-president of tennis development for Tennis Canada, “It’s also globally a golden era of tennis with Serena Williams hitting milestones — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova.

David Fingold, sponsor of a major juniors tournament run this month in Canada said,  “this is really the first time we’ve had players of that quality, and the young people see that. Some of them want to become the next Milos or the next Genie. It’s the same thing as when I was growing up and you wanted to be the next Frank Mahovlich or Rocket Richard.

McDadi also highlighted the influence of migration on Canada’s tennis growth “They have a strong history with tennis, Europeans, Asians, South Americans,. It’s affordable. It’s accessible. You can start at a young age and play with your family, and there are tremendous health benefits.

Indeed, Raonic himself could be considered such an individual who has helped Canadian tennis as a migrant. He was born in Podgorica, Montenegro, whilst long-time Canadian doubles specialist Daniel Nestor was born in Belgrade, Serbia.

Even amongst the new generation, there is signs of the migration influence, with Denis Shapovalov, the reigning Wimbledon Junior Champion, was born in Tel Aviv, Israel before moving to Canada before his first birthday. Sixteen year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime looks set to join Vasek Pospisil as one of the first Canadian-born players to make an impact, with the junior already making headlines in junior tournaments, along with eye-catching wins at Futures and Challenger level.

Tennis had long been forced to play second fiddle to more typical North American sports such as basketball, baseball and american football for a number of years. Canada has also always retained a large number of people taking part in winter sports, with ice hockey, skiing, snowboarding, all drawing large numbers. Yet, in seeing tennis figures rise, some of these sports, notably ice hockey, have seen participation figures fall.

Whatever the reasons, it looks as if Canada is embracing tennis, and the nation could soon be competing with long-time rival the United States for tennis honours consistently.

 

 

 

 

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REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

Tennis Kafe has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

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Dominic Thiem signs up to defend his Barcelona title

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Defending champion Dominic Thiem has signed up to play at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in 2020. The 26-year-old Austrian player will make his sixth main draw appearance in Barcelona, where he won the title last year beating Danil Medvedev.

 

Thiem reached the round of 16 as a qualifier in his debut at this event in 2014. One year later Thiem lost in the first round in 2015 and did not play in 2016.

The player from Wiener Neustadt lost the 2017 final to 11-time Barcelona champion Rafael Nadal. In 2018 Thiem was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter final. In last April’s edition Thiem lifted the title without dropping a set. He beat Nadal in the semifinal before claiming a win over Medvedev in the final.

Thiem tied with Djokovic for ATP Tour-lead with five titles. He won his biggest title at Indian Wells Masters 1000 beating five-time champion Roger Federer and joined his compatriot Thomas Muster as second Austrian player in history to win an ATP Masters 1000 title. Thiem claimed three more titles in Kitzbuhel, Beijing and Vienna and beat Novak Djokovic in five sets to advance to his second consecutive Roland Garros final. Thiem saved two match points against Federer in Madrid Masters 1000 quarter final before losing to Novak Djokovic in semifinal.

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Late Replacement Tomljanovic To Face Maria Sharapova In Abu Dhabi

The order of play for the first day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship have been confirmed.

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There has been a change made to the line-up for next week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship with Ajla Tomljanovic making a last-minute entry.

 

Tomljanovic, who achieved a ranking best of 39th back in April, will be making her debut at the three-day exhibition event. Which will feature a women’s match for the third time in a row. The Australian has been called in to replace French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova, who has been forced to pull out due to injury.

“It’s really disappointing to have to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Anisimova said in a press release. “I was looking forward so much to coming to Abu Dhabi and I hope to make the trip in the future.”

The 26-year-old will take on five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova on the opening day of the event. Who hasn’t played on the WTA Tour since her first round loss at the US Open due to a shoulder problem. Sharapova will also be making her debut at the Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre. The two players have never faced each other on the tour.

“I’ve heard amazing things about Abu Dhabi and the championship, and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of this crowd against Maria.” Said Tomljanovic, who will be the first Australian to play at the event. “It will give the perfect challenge ahead of a big season.”

Tomljanovic’s clash with Sharapova is set to be the final match to take place on the opening day of the event. They are only the fourth and fifth woman to ever play in the competition, which has hosted a men’s tournament since 2009. Jelena Ostapenko (2017), Serena Williams (2017 and 2018) and Venus Williams (2018) are the only other WTA players to have taken part.

The full order of play for the opening day has been confirmed by the organisers. Prior to Sharapova’s match, two men’s quarter-finals will take place. ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will play Gael Monfils with the winner booking a clash against Novak Djokovic. Then world No.4 Daniil Medvedev takes on South Korea’s Hyeon Chung. The winner of that match will play Rafael Nadal.

“The 12th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is fast shaping up to be the most exciting in the event’s history. We are looking forward to providing our spectators with a dynamic combination of world-class tennis and family fun in what is an unmissable event,” said John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship takes place between December 19-21.

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