Milos Raonic falls to Andy Murray in first Grand Slam final appearance for a Canadian man in singles; Shapovalov wins boys’ championship
July 10, 2016 – Canadians took over the courts at Wimbledon on Sunday, with Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, Ont.) becoming just the third Canadian in history to clinch a junior Slam singles title, while Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.) fell to Andy Murray in the men’s championship match in the first-ever appearance by a Canadian man in a Grand Slam singles final.
With his 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Australian Alex De Minaur in the boys’ final, No. 5-seeded Shapovalov joined Eugenie Bouchard (2012 Wimbledon) and Filip Peliwo (2012 Wimbledon and 2012 US Open) as Canadian singles winners at junior Slams. The victory marked his 12th in a row as he entered the event fresh off a title at a big pre-Wimbledon junior tournament in Roehampton. It is his second junior Grand Slam title as he and fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal) clinched the Junior US Open doubles trophy last September.
The two young Canadians were actually one set from also capturing the Junior Wimbledon doubles crown on Sunday, but Shapovalov and 15-year-old Auger-Aliassime were stopped 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to No. 2 seeds Kenneth Raisma of Estonia and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
“Canadian tennis is moving forward a lot,” Shapovalov said. “Hopefully it doesn’t stop here. Even the next generation can see it’s possible and start working hard and we will have more Grand Slam champions in the future.”
Raonic falls to Murray in close duel
The first Canadian man to ever appear in a Grand Slam singles final, Raonic just came up short against the British home favourite by a score of 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(2). There was only one break of serve in the whole match, which lasted two hours and 48 minutes.
Following the contest, Raonic said it was a phenomenal two weeks.
“I stepped up in a semifinal that twice I struggled in in the past,” said Raonic, who previously made two other semifinals at the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon two years ago. “I stepped up. I did a great thing there. Came back from two sets to love down, which is a first time for me. I showed guts. I showed vigour. I’ve got to carry that through to the next events.”
Despite the loss, Raonic made history by reaching the final. The 25-year-old has been re-writing the Canadian tennis record books since his first big breakthrough on the pro circuit, when he made the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2011. A few months later, he became the highest-ranked Canadian man ever in singles by reaching world No. 37, a mark he has continually broken to a current career-high of No. 4 – the only Canadian, male or female, to be ranked Top 4 in singles. He was the first Canadian man in the Open Era to make a Grand Slam singles quarter-final at Roland Garros in 2014, and Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon in 2014. He is also only the second Canadian to play in a Slam singles final after Eugenie Bouchard was Wimbledon finalist in 2014.
“A big thank you,” Raonic said in response to what he would say to Canadian fans. “It’s not just the support here, it’s the support through numerous weeks wherever I go to play tennis. The appreciation for tennis in Canada has considerably grown, just for Canadians in general all over the world. There’s always a big contingency, a big showing up. It’s a great honour to have that kind of support.”
Canadian tennis fans can give the Wimbledon runner-up a warm homecoming in just two weeks, as Raonic returns home for his next tournament at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto. The ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event takes place July 23-31 at Aviva Centre.