Canada complete Davis Cup full circle

The 2019 finalists dominated proceedings in Malaga, seven years after ruling the world in the junior divisions.

Félix Auger-Aliassime & l'équipe du Canada / Victoire Coupe Davis 2022
©Oscar J.Barroso / AFP / PRESSE SPORTS
 - Alex Sharp

Felix Auger-Aliassime collapsed to the court and within seconds the jubilant celebrations had begun.

It’s official, Canada are Davis Cup champions for the very first time.

Frank Dancevic’s side had all the answers in Malaga, taking down Australia 2-0 in the final to become the 16th nation crowned world champions since the Davis Cup was established in 1900.

Vasek Pospisil chipped in with valuable doubles contributions, but he wasn’t required on court on Sunday.

Denis Shapovalov set the perfect platform with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Thanasi Kokkinakis, before world No.6 Auger-Aliassime capped his stunning season 6-3, 6-4 over green and gold leading light Alex de Minaur.

“The emotions are tough to describe,” stated Auger-Aliassime, soon after plenty of champagne spraying.

“We grew up together from the ages of seven, eight years old back in Canada dreaming about being on this stage, winning these types of matches, winning the Davis Cup.

“It really is a dream come true.”

The class of 2015

It’s been quite the journey for Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov in particular, having won the junior Davis Cup together back in 2015. Fast forward four years and the dynamic duo suffered heartache as runners-up in the 2019 final against Spain

This time they were on the front foot, belief coursing through every stroke as they made history for the Maple Leafs.

“From when we were juniors, watching Vasek, Milos Raonic and Daniel Nestor play Davis Cup, we wanted to do the same, and maybe even to win it one day,” stated world No.18 Shapovalov.

“It was tough to lose in 2019, it was an empty feeling and we wanted it badly this time.”

22-year-old Auger-Aliassime echoed that sentiment.

“That was a great moment winning the juniors, got some great memories with these guys,” continued the Canadian talisman.

“We’ve all developed as players since then. We’ve got better and better over the years . We’ve been getting more ready for these moments.

“It's cool to be in this position now, and it's kind of full circle. It's a special team. Hopefully we are able to bring this very far, this generation.”

Springboard for 2023?

Having launched into the Top 10 this season, Auger-Aliassime has truly transformed into a major contender for the top prizes.

In 2022 Davis Cup action, the world No.6 has compiled an 8-1 match record across singles and doubles. Back in September’s group stages he reeled in the freshly crowned US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz, the year-end world No.1, from a set down.

That statement win propelled the Canadian towards three titles in three weeks last month, earning his debut at the ATP Finals in Turin.

The results, the game, the confident, chest out persona all point to a standout 2023 for FAA.

Swiss bliss in Glasgow

Australia were also the final opponents in the Billie Jean King Cup silverware showdown as the 2021 runners-up Switzerland completed their own redemption.

2020 Olympic champion Belinda Bencic spearheaded the Swiss charge to a maiden title, chalking up straight set wins over the likes of Leylah Fernandez, Karolina Pliskova and Ajla Tomljanovic.

“I feel like I'm not playing for myself out there,” said Bencic, shortly after the confetti canons burst in Glasgow.

“I'm fighting for all the team and for all Switzerland, for our country. This was like a childhood dream coming true. Hearing the National Anthem and watching the Swiss flag, it's really something big for me.

“I just feel like it brings out the best, brings out those extra percentages which maybe I cannot bring in the other tournaments.”