Canada are Davis Cup by Rakuten champions for the first time in the nation’s history after Felix Auger-Aliassime completed a perfect week of tennis on finals day.
Auger-Aliassime won his seventh and eighth sets of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Final 8 2022 to add to those won by Denis Shapovalov earlier on Sunday, giving Canada an unassailable 2-0 lead against Australia.
It was more testing than the 6-3, 6-4 scoreline against Alex de Minaur suggests, and Auger-Aliassime had to fight off eight break points to get over the line.
It was tough to lose in 2019, it was an empty feeling and we wanted it badly this time (Denis Shapovalov)
But his serve was reliable when he needed it most, and his baseline game was rock-solid.
“The emotions are tough to describe,” said Auger-Aliassime.
“Denis and I grew up together, dreaming of these types of stage, dreaming of winning the Davis Cup. It’s a great moment for myself and for the country.”
Earlier, Shapovalov came out firing from the very first ball against Thanasi Kokkinakis to establish a 4-0 lead, and ran out a 6-2, 6-4 winner.
There were a couple of wobbles when he was broken back at 5-2 in the second set, but he steeled himself to serve out at the second time of asking.
It meant that De Minaur would have to reproduce his semi-final heroics, when he thrashed Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2, to take the final into the deciding doubles match, but he was unable to overcome Auger-Aliassime.
We’ve been dreaming about this for several years (Vasek Pospisil)
Shapovalov was understandably thrilled. “From when we were juniors, watching Vasek [Pospisil], Milos Raonic and Daniel Nestor play Davis Cup, we wanted to do the same, and maybe even to win it one day.
“It was tough to lose in 2019, it was an empty feeling and we wanted it badly this time,” he said.
For Vasek Pospisil, the elder statesman of the team, it was an emotional moment.
“We’ve been dreaming about this for several years,” he said.
“To be here as world champions, I’m speechless. These guys are not kids any more. They’ve been crushing it. You can’t win this event without tremendous team chemistry, going forwards as one unit, and all these guys represent exactly that.”