When the Rogers Cup tennis tournament kicks off in Toronto and Montreal on Monday, there will be plenty of Canadian talent on display.
Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov, Vasek Pospisil and Eugenie Bouchard will be among the Canadian talent aiming for the title.
Shapovalov, the Richmond Hill, Ont., native whose semi-final run at last year’s tournament made him the competition’s breakout star, told CTV News Channel that some of the best experiences of his life have been at the Rogers Cup.
“I always grew up watching this tournament,” Shapovalov said. “When I get a chance to do it, it’s a dream come true. I don’t get nervous. It’s more of a week for me to go and enjoy myself and enjoy my game.”
Shapovalov, who was a wild-card entry at last year’s Rogers Cup, orchestrated one of the tournament’s greatest upsets when he ousted top-ranked Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the third round, earning him plaudits from the Spanish tennis great who said the Canadian had “star potential.”
Shapovalov, who has struggled this year, told CTV News Channel that while it was “unbelievable” to receive applause from a tennis legend, he still believes he has “so much to learn and to improve.”
His first round opponent will be France’s Jeremy Chardy, who Shapovalov beat at Wimbledon in July.
“I know his game style a little bit,” Shapovalov said. “I’m fairly confident going in.”
Shapovalov and Pospisil were eliminated from the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., last week, where the humid conditions were good preparation for the high temperatures that are expected to be a major hurdle as the tournament gets underway tomorrow.
“I’m training hard and melting here,” Pospisil told CTV News Channel from the practice courts in Toronto. “It’s pretty hot.”
Pospisil faces off against Croatia’s Borna Ćorić on Monday.
“There are no easy matches this week, especially at this level,” Pospisil told CTV News Channel. “I’ll have my hands full right from the first one.”
Nevertheless, the B.C. native said he is “excited” for the tournament to begin and hopes he can be a role model for aspiring tennis players.
“It’s an amazing feeling because it’s something I’ve worked for my while life,” he said. “To be here is very fulfilling. It’s been such a long journey.”
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