Vasek Pospisil’s Return to Form After Back Surgery

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 12: Vasek Pospisil of Canada celebrates his victory against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during Day 5 of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament at Rotterdam Ahoy on February 12, 2020 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The 2014 Wimbledon doubles champion and former world no. 25 in singles, Vasek Pospisil, was forced to undergo a back surgery in January last year. It was determined by the doctors that this was the best method to repair his herniated disc. The operation was successful and it turns out Pospisil came back stronger than expected, maybe stronger than ever.

Vasek Pospisil: Playing himself into form

Following the surgery, Pospisil missed the entire first half of the 2019 season. Getting back to form wasn’t easy, especially as the Canadian had to endure a couple of very tough draws. In his first tournament back, at Wimbledon, Pospisil fell in the first round to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

His very talented compatriot was his rival again in the opening round of the Rogers Cup, an event that Pospisil reached the semifinals at in 2013. The first positive sign came at the US Open, where the Canadian once again took on a high seed in his first match. This time he managed to beat the odds and take down then-world no. 9 Karen Khachanov.

It wasn’t until October when Pospisil’s comeback really kicked off. The Canadian had to qualify for the Shanghai Masters and stormed through Adrian Mannarino, Marcel Granollers, Diego Schwartzman, and Joao Sousa without losing a single set. His third round match against Daniil Medvedev was arguably the eventual champion’s toughest test in the whole tournament.

Pospisil then went on a brilliant Challenger Tour streak, racking up 14 wins in a row. The Canadian took the titles at Las Vegas and Charlottesville before finally running out of steam and retiring to Tommy Paul at Knoxville. The only event he would play before the end of the year would be the Davis Cup Finals, where he was among the ones most responsible for Canada’s runner-up finish.

New season, same quality

While the Australian Open didn’t go exactly as planned with an opening round loss to Ivo Karlovic, the European indoor season is where Pospisil found his best form again. A brilliant run in Montpellier saw him take down Aljaz Bedene, Denis Shapovalov, and David Goffin on the way to the final. The championship match (loss to Gael Monfils) was his first tour-level final in six years.

Rotterdam will be very memorable for Pospisil, due to the huge upset he caused in the opening round. The Canadian got another shot at Daniil Medvedev. This time, he never looked back, being the better player on the way to a 6-4 6-3 win over the top seed.

The rich vein of form continues

Pospisil is currently in Marseille and has already advanced to another quarterfinal. The Canadian drew a lucky loser in the first round, but the young Finn Emil Ruusuvuori is definitely not what you’d call an easy draw. Pospisil was down early in the match but slowly started regaining control on the way to 7-6 6-3 win.

That took him to what appeared to be a challenging clash against Hubert Hurkacz. But the young Pole is not in his best shape lately and appeared somewhat out of sorts on Wednesday afternoon. Pospisil’s solid all-court tennis got him through as Hurkacz wasn’t able to consistently get his opponent on the back foot.

If you count the ranking points earned only this year, Vasek Pospisil finds himself in the Top 30 of the ATP Rankings. And that’s with a first-round loss at the only Major so far. Should he keep up this fantastic form, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to see the Canadian stay there for the rest of the year. His next opponent in Marseille will either be second seed Stefanos Tsitispas or Mikael Ymer.

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