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Canada is the world champion in both men's and women's tennis, but it can't stop there

When the average tennis enthusiast contemplates the sport, the Olympics might not be the first event that comes to mind. Yet, Canada is making waves as the current world champion in both men's and women's tennis, securing its maiden Davis Cup last year and clinching a historic Billie Jean King Cup triumph earlier this month.

Recent achievements include Gaby Dabrowski becoming the first Canadian woman to win a major title in doubles at the U.S. Open in September. Additionally, Bianca Andreescu's triumph at Flushing Meadows four years ago marked Canada's first major singles victory. However, these milestones raise the question: what comes next?

Sylvain Bruneau, the outgoing head of women's tennis at Tennis Canada, recognizes the significance of these accomplishments but emphasizes the need for sustained success. Bruneau acknowledges the possibility of an Olympic medal as the next goal, but he underscores the importance of players like Andreescu and Felix Auger-Aliassime maintaining their positions at the highest level.

While the Olympics may not traditionally be a pinnacle for tennis, the upcoming Paris Olympics are stirring anticipation as the competition will be held at Roland Garros, the clay-court home of the French Open. Bruneau believes that achieving success at the Olympics is a reachable goal for Canadian players, showcasing the remarkable progress of tennis in the country.

The recent victories in team tennis events demonstrate that Canadians can be formidable contenders, even on the Olympic podium. Bruneau urges the tennis community not to become complacent and to aspire for more.

As the Canadian men aim to defend their Davis Cup title, facing a formidable Finland team in the quarterfinals, the spotlight is on the 29th-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime, supported by players like Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil, Gabriel Diallo, and Alexis Galarneau. The path to a second consecutive title won't be easy, with potential matchups against strong teams like Australia or Serbia looming in the later stages.

Alexis Galarneau, a key player on the Canadian team, acknowledges the challenge ahead but expresses confidence in their ability to succeed. Galarneau highlights the importance of enjoying the experience and representing Canada on the global stage.

For Galarneau, the success of current players is built upon the foundation laid by past champions like Raonic and Aleksandra Wozniak. He emphasizes the significance of Canada's current status as both men's and women's world champions, describing it as "massive" and a testament to the hard work and dedication of those who built the tennis structure in the country.

While an Olympic medal is a tempting prospect, Galarneau remains focused on climbing the professional rankings. He sees the Davis Cup as an opportunity for another national triumph, understanding that sustained success in professional seasons is crucial for tennis to thrive in Canada.

Bruneau believes that each victory on the world stage, including the Olympics, contributes to creating a tennis tradition in Canada. The more success Canadian players achieve, the greater the interest in the sport, leading to increased viewership and participation.

As the Canadian tennis journey continues, the challenge is not just about reaching new heights but maintaining them. Bruneau emphasizes the need for continuous hard work, stating that tennis in Canada is heading in the right direction, but there's no room for complacency.

For now, the focus is on the Davis Cup, where another triumph could further solidify Canada's standing as a tennis powerhouse and set the stage for even greater achievements on the global stage. As Bruneau puts it, the prospect of the Canadian men following up the women's victory with another of their own would be "ridiculous" – a testament to the country's growing tennis prowess.

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