The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Brisebois: The Rise of the New Guard and Part 2 of the Year-End Quiz

December 23, 2021
Ashleigh playing

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

We’ve been waiting and waiting, and 2022 just may be the year our young talents emerge as great champions.

Taking a look at the ATP’s last rankings of the year, the immediate future seems pretty promising.

And taking a look at the superstars of the past two decades, a wind of change seems to be blowing.

Roger Federer won’t be back before summer, at the earliest. Rafael Nadal just came down with COVID-19. And Novak Djokovic, World No.1 for the seventh time, knows he won’t go unchallenged.

The new generation of players—who are admittedly less new than they once were—have arrived and made themselves at home in the upper echelons of the ATP.

That’s something fans at IGA Stadium in Montréal will get to see firsthand from August 6 to 14.

The Djoker, now 34 years old, hogged the limelight this past season with his wins at the AO, Roland-Garros and Wimbledon and all the talk of the Golden, then Calendar Slam. Still, that didn’t stop the new wave from gaining momentum.

Photo: Patrice Lapointe

Daniil Medvedev won his first major against Djokovic, along with two Masters, including the National Bank Open in Toronto. Alexander Zverev earned gold in Tokyo and at the ATP Finals. Stefanos Tsitsipas found his way to his first Slam final in Paris.

Of the eight Masters, one went to the King of Clay (Rome), who currently sits at No.6 at the age of 35, and one went to Djokovic (Paris). The six others were secured by the 26-and-under crowd.

Need another sign that the new guard has arrived? By the end of 2021, eight of the Top 10 were between 25 and 30 years old. And don’t forget 21-year-old Félix Auger-Aliassime at No.11 and 22-year-old Denis Shapovalov at No.14.

Great year for Ashleigh Barty

As the trifecta reigned over the ATP rankings, the top spot on the women’s tour was a game of musical chairs. Over the same period, the WTA was governed by 14 different players.

Only Ashleigh Barty provided some stability by closing things out at No.1 for the third straight season. In doing so, she joined Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graff and Serena Williams in the elite group of women who’ve scored a tennis hat trick.

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov at the Laver Cup
Photo: Gyles Dias

How well do you know your tennis?   

And now, the second part of our year-end quiz! Keep scrolling for the answers.

1 – WITH 63 VICTORIES, WHO WON THE MOST ATP MATCHES IN 2021?

A. Novak Djokovic 

B. Daniil Medvedev

C. Alexander Zverev

2 – WHAT RECORD DID RAFA BREAK TO OUTDO JIMMY CONNORS?

A. Most tiebreakers played

B. Most breaks won

C. Most consecutive weeks in the Top 10

3 – WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS IS FALSE?

A. As 2021’s World No.1, Ashleigh Barty is the fifth player in WTA history to spend at least 100 straight weeks at the very top.

B. Camila Giorgi dropped only one set on her way to the National Bank Open title in Montréal. 

C. National Bank Open titleholder Bianca Andreescu skipped this year’s tournament in Montréal.

4. DESPITE COMPETING IN ONLY 13 MATCHES, WHAT FEAT DID THE MAESTRO ROGER FEDERER STILL MANAGE TO ACHIEVE?

A. He won the ATP Fans’ Favorite Award for the 19th year in a row.

B. He won a tournament after turning 40.

C. Neither.

5. IN ADDITION TO LEYLAH’S FINAL IN NEW YORK, WHAT DID OUR OTHER CANADIAN ACES ACCOMPLISH? 

A. Denis Shapovalov reached the semis at Wimbledon.

B. Félix Auger-Aliassime reached the semis in New York.

C. Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman each won a WTA 1000 title.

AND ONE EXTRA

“It’s unrealistic telling fans they have to be vaccinated to protect us and then players not doing it. That would be hypocritical.”

When asked about vaccination, who sent that not-so-subtle message to his co-workers?  

A. Novak Djokovic

B. Roger Federer

C. Félix Auger-Aliassime 

ANSWERS:

1: B, 2: C, 3: C, 4: A, 5: ABC, EXTRA: C

Jean-François Mannibal

Happy retirement, Mr. Manibal!

A major chapter in Tennis Québec’s history has come to a close. Executive director Jean-François Manibal is retiring after 42 years!

That’s not a career but a vocation—one we’ll certainly revisit.

Andréanne Martin takes the helm. She possesses every skill and talent to lead Tennis Québec into the future.

And this holiday season, let’s all be exceptionally careful.

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