Time for Canadian Tennis’ Best Friends to Turn Enemies – again?
The US Open Draw has thrown up a number of enticing matches, but the whole of Canada will be tuning in for this first round match.
The quirks of the US Open Draw seem to get more outlandish every year. To throw these two young stars together again for the second consecutive year is remarkable.
Tennis Canada unimpressed
The single emoji reaction to the draw from Tennis Canada, and the outpouring of negative comments from thousands of followers on Twitter, suggested that they were not amused by this peculiar turn of events.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) August 22, 2019
Denis Shapovalov is the only player that Felix Auger-Aliassime has played at Flushing Meadows in the main draw. They shared two thrilling and tight sets last year before Auger-Aliassime had to retire.
Before that match in 2018, the conversation had been all about whether the long-time friends could put that aside for a best-of-five blood-and-thunder encounter. Whether the intense build-up had anything to do with it or not we don’t know but when the younger man, Auger-Aliassime, had to retire with an elevated heart condition it was very worrying for both players.
Shapovalov embracing his good friend on the court after the retirement had been confirmed was a demonstration of what they mean to each other having come through the junior ranks and even won the US Open boys doubles title together.
Felix the favourite?
They have met once more since that occasion. Auger-Aliassime came out on top in the opening round of the Madrid Masters on clay. Definitely not Shapovalov’s preferred surface.
The fact that Auger-Aliassime is the seeded player of the pair, despite being younger, is a testament to the year that he has had on tour. Reaching finals in Rio, Lyon, and Stuttgart, as well as taking some big scalps on the way, has seen him rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”overtake Shapovalov as one of the most exciting prospects on the ATP Tour.
Shapovalov, currently in action in Winston-Salem, has had, by contrast, a very tough season. Despite reaching a high of #20, the Israeli-born Canadian national has tumbled down the rankings of late, suffering six defeats in a row and not reaching the third round of a tournament between his breakthrough at the Miami Masters and this week in Winston-Salem.
Canadian Tennis to the fore at the US Open
This match is hopefully only the opening salvo to what could be a breakthrough year for Canadian Tennis.
Hopes are high that one of these two young guns may be able to make an impact deep into the tournament, alongside the long time Canadian #1 Milos Raonic.
Pair this with the excitement of four time tournament winner Bianca Andreescu in the women’s draw and hopes are high that Canada will have representation deep into the second week at Flushing Meadows.
Main Photo from Getty.