Frenzied Davis Cup Atmosphere Helps Propel Team Canada

The locations and the pools for the 2024 Davis Cup Finals Groups Stage have been set.  

Canada, seeded third in the world thanks largely to their first-ever championship at the event back in 2022, have drawn Finland, Great Britain and Argentina in their pool of four countries that will compete September 10th to 15th in Manchester, UK. 

While playing in Manchester might not be anywhere close to Canadian turf for the next phase of the event, we have to go back only a few weeks to remember what a home crowd can do to boost player morale.  

Now is a good time to take a look back at the memorable win Team Canada presented by Sobeys enjoyed in Montreal at IGA Stadium in February and how the home crowd in particular helped propel our Canadians into the upcoming stage of Davis Cup in September.  

There’s nothing quite like a Davis Cup tie on home soil. The frenzy of a local crowd, the stakes of trying to advance towards the final of this historic international competition and the rare opportunity to see the highest level of professional tennis in your own country creates a dynamic like no other. In recent times, Team Canada has played in front of supportive home crowds in Vancouver (2012, 2013) and Toronto (2018) and finally, after a long wait, they returned to dazzle their fans in Montreal.  

They were met by 2,000 energetic spectators who raised the volume courtside thanks to their drums, cowbells, air horns and enthusiastic vocal support. The chants of, “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole” made the venue resemble more of a hockey game than a typical tennis match. Such is the atmosphere that home ties in Davis Cup typically create.  

Read also: Diallo Seals the Win for Canada over Korea at Davis Cup

Davis Cup affords the most rabid tennis fans the opportunity to show up to support their country to encourage them and help elevate their games with their passion. They come from all over the country and from diverse backgrounds.  

Photo : Pascal Ratthe

For Canadian tennis fans, Davis Cup offers a unique viewing experience that is impossible to match at other tour events. Super fan Maryse Latendresse was in attendance in Montreal and shared that, “It’s an immense privilege to attend an event like this, live, at home. I feel a lot of pride. There is nothing like seeing each player put all their heart into a match in order to win for the team and at the same time that the encouragement of the crowd infuses energy to all the players.”  

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Some fans even work for Tennis Canada, such as Anita Comella, Senior Director, Facilities Development who moonlights as the leader of the rhythm section at these events and was vigorously working her snare drum in Montreal.  

“I am not a drummer, but said I’d do it,” she explained. “The snare drum is loud enough that it can really help get the crowd motivated to join in on the cheering!  Next up was Billie Jean King Cup in Seville in 2023, and I was happy to drum again.  The women had an amazing World Cup win, so the drumming has kind of set in as a bit of a tradition now!  It’s just a ton of fun to cheer with colleagues and volunteers!” 

The progress that the Canadian men have made in recent years is remarkable. They made the finals in 2019 before falling to Rafael Nadal and a very strong team from Spain. In 2022, they had a dream run with victories over Korea and Spain in the round robin, then Germany and Italy in the quarter and semifinals before taking out Australia in the final. Last year, they defeated Chile, Sweden and Italy in round robin play before falling to Finland in the quarter-finals.  

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The squad Canadian squad has a nice mix of veteran experience paired with youthful exuberance. Despite not quite being ready to test his hip in match play in Montreal, Milos Raonic showed up and provided mentorship on the sidelines while Vasek Pospisil, as always, was there and ready to do whatever was needed to help the squad cross the finish line. He played on the opening day in singles and also anchored the doubles alongside Alexis Galarneau.  

For Gabriel Diallo, to have the opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf and play in front of his hometown friends and family as part of the Davis Cup squad is truly an unparalleled experience. The 22-year-old revealed in Montreal just how special it was for him.   

“It’s what I worked for. For me, there’s no bigger moment than this. I’m from this city, from this neighbourhood, I lived seven minutes away. I grew up practicing here and now to be able to play here in front of all these amazing fans and my friends and my family that don’t get to watch me play a lot live in an atmospheres than this representing Canada, to me there’s no bigger stage than Davis Cup.”  

Read also: No Matter the Age, Davis Cup is Special for Pospisil and Diallo

Galarneau, also a local from Laval, echoed Diallo’s comments about how special it was to play in front of an enthusiastic crowd on the courts he grew up practicing and competing on.  

In a recent interview on Match Point Canada, he shared that, “Montreal and the surroundings of Montreal means everything to me. It’s family, it’s friends, it’s everything. I grew up from eleven to seventeen years old playing here every day with great memories, it brings back a lot of good memories. I’m excited to finally be able to play in front of the Montreal crowd in a Davis Cup atmosphere!”  

While that wraps-up any home ties for Team Canada Presented by Sobeys in 2024, the Davis Cup quest continues for the guys in September when they head over to the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage. The top eight teams will then advance to the Finals in Malaga, Spain in November.  

With the promising start to their season as a team and with strong players like Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov also potentially in the mix, the Canadians stand a very good chance to be right in the thick of things as they try to contend for a second ever Davis Cup championship for the country. Despite being on the road, they will still feel strong support coming from any fans ready to make the journey over there with them as well as from those wishing them well from back here at home.  

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