With the rise of young talent, Canadian tennis appears to be in good hands with the likes of Denis Shapovalov, Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger Aliassime, and Leylah Fernandez. Throw into the mix veterans like Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard, and it’s easy to see why the sport has received plenty of attention and interest in Canada over the past decade.
And while the sport has grown tremendously in popularity, it seems most–if not all –the attention has gone to the singles competitors. One name that is sometimes overlooked by Canadian tennis fans is doubles star, Gabriela Dabrowski.
Gabriela Dabrowski: Impressive Consistency
The 29-year-old from Ottawa, Ontario has been the model of consistency in doubles play. Back in 2017, she teamed up with India’s Rohan Bopanna to win the mixed doubles title at Roland Garros. That victory was significant because it put Dabrowski’s name in the history books as the first Canadian woman to win a Grand Slam at the senior level.
Thank you for this special moment https://t.co/q0jdeXczkg
— Gaby Dabrowski (@GabyDabrowski) August 10, 2017
Then, at the 2018 Australian Open she teamed up with Croatia’s Mate Pavić to capture the mixed doubles title in Melbourne.
“Australia has always been one of my favorite places in the whole world. This is like my favorite circuit of the year. It feels really special to be able to do well and play well and win here,” said Dabrowski after the big win at the 2018 Aussie Open.
It’s interesting to note that their opponents in the ultra competitive championship match was Tímea Babos and Dabrowski’s 2017 French Open partner, Bopanna.
In her post championship match press conference, Dabrowski explained that she did not have a chance to speak to Bopanna about teaming up in Melbourne and learned through a newspaper article that he was already playing with Babos. Of course, the young Canadian also noted how grateful she was to be able to partner with Pavić on such short notice.
In addition to her success in mixed doubles, Dabrowski has enjoyed continued success in women’s doubles play. In 2019, she teamed up with Xu Yifan of China and they reached the finals of Wimbledon before losing in straight sets to Barbora Strýcová and Hsieh Su-wei in the championship match.
Over her career, the 5’10” Dabrowski has captured ten women’s doubles titles. The most recent title was a special one in that it came on Canadian soil. Teamming up with Luisa Stefani of Brazil, Dabrowski captured the National Bank Open in Montreal to become the first Canadian woman to win the doubles championship since Faye Urban did it back in 1969.
Afterwards Stefani, who was captured women’s doubles bronze in Toyko, had nothing but praise for Dabrowski’s doubles game.
“I’ve always loved her game. I told her that before. I think she’s so complete, especially in doubles.” The 24-year-old from Brazil
said about Dabrowski. “I think she complements my game very well. She’s aggressive. She has great hands at the net, great serve.”
For her part, Dabrowski was complimentary of Stefani’s mental toughness and her ability to step in the key moments.
“I think Luisa has sort of an underrated confidence, so in pressure situations she rises to the occasion,” said Dabrowski.
“I think that showed recently with her bronze medal win at the Olympics, playing with someone she hadn’t played with very often, taking down great teams.”
— Luisa Stefani (@Luisa__Stefani) August 15, 2021
Playing in tournaments in the United States and internationally, Dabrowski was grateful to play on Canadian soil during the National Bank Open.
“It was so nice to play in front of Canadian tennis fans. It’s as close as a home tournament as I’m ever going to get because we don’t have any in Ottawa,” said the 29-year-old Canadian after capturing the NBO title.
“My parents were here today. I’m not sure if I had any other family today. On my mom’s side I had cousins come yesterday. It was really nice. I hadn’t seen them in a really, really long time,” Dabrowski continued.
“Today was the first time I’d seen my parents since November 2019. It was lovely to have them there, nice to share a win with them.”
While Dabrowski was pleased with the victory and having the opportunity to play in front of friends and family on Canadian soil, she was disappointed to learn that their championship win was not televised in Canada.
I've been hearing our @OBNmontreal doubles finals was not televised in 🇨🇦. If you're disappointed that certain players/matches/tournaments are not aired on your local sports network, reach out to them to let them know. In 🇨🇦: @TSN_Sports @RDSca @Sportsnet @TVASports @DAZN_CA 👀
— Gaby Dabrowski (@GabyDabrowski) August 17, 2021
Despite her disappointment with the attention–or lack of attention–she’s received, the 29-year-old has not let that affect her consistent play on the tennis courts. Following their run to the NBO title in Montreal, Stefani and Dabrowski made it to the finals in Cincinnati before dropping the championship match in straight sets to Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai.
With the US Open kicking off next week, the attention will most likely be on Andreescu, Shapovalov, and Auger-Aliassime. But for Canadian tennis fans it’s important to know that Gabriela Dabrowski and her partner are will be among the favorites, based on their consistency this summer, to claim the women’s doubles title at Flushing Meadows–and also the recognition, rewards, and attention that comes with it.
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