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Canadian teenagers lead the way in ATP rankings


 

Fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime joins Denis Shapovalov as the only teenagers in the Men’s top 100 ATP Singles rankings after inspirational run in Rio

 

Canadian tennis has been showing encouraging signs of improvement in recent years and this week’s ATP Rankings only go to back up the claim that they are the most exciting nation in tennis right now.

Of the top 100 male tennis players in the World this week there are just two players under the age of 20 and both of them hail from Canada.

Denis Shapovalov has been a Top 100 player since late 2017 and he’s shown considerable promise to rise up to No. 24 in the world. His athletic, energetic style of play has wowed the crowds and lead to many experienced commentators predicting a bright future in the top 10 of the rankings and potentially better.

Felix Auger-Aliassime is much less well known but that doesn’t mean his potential isn’t as exciting as his fellow countryman. He proved this with an amazing run to the final of last week’s Rio Open. The teenager now becomes the youngest ever ATP 500 tour finalist on a list that includes some of the World’s best players such as Alexander Zverev, Milos Raonic and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Auger-Aliassime’s run on the clay of Rio saw him take some notable scalps along the way including the hardened, clay court veterans Fabio Fognini and Pablo Cuevas. In the final he ran out of energy and lost to Serbian youngster Laslo Djere 6-3, 7-5 but he’s not stopping there. “For me, [winning the] title or not [winning the] title is not the most important thing today [for me], because at the end I want to have a successful career, every year. I don’t want to be remembered for just a final or just a title when I was 18.”

The average age of the players in the top 100 rankings on the ATP Tour has increased in recent years with many putting the reason down to improved health and fitness allowing players to play for longer. Roger Federer is 37 years old and in his 21st year on tour. Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are well into their thirties and still winning regularly on tour including the biggest titles. This means it has become increasingly difficult for the younger players to break into the Top 100 and secure guaranteed places in the draws of the biggest events. Which makes Canada’s achievement this week even more impressive.

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