PITTSBURGH — As he waited on the results of all those tests, as he wondered and worried about why he had collapsed to the ice on that frightening day at the Saddledome, TJ Brodie gained some important perspective. Read MoreWith new perspective, Flames’ Brodie poised to return to action — Calgary Sun
CANADA EARNS A HISTORIC FINAL BERTH AT DAVIS CUP
The Canadian squad overpowers Russia at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals
Madrid, November 23, 2019 – On Saturday, Canada qualified for the Davis Cup Final for the very first time in its history when the squad posted a 2-1 win over Russia at the outcome of a fight to the bitter end.
It came as no surprise when captain Frank Dancevic called upon Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) and Vasek Pospisil (Vernon, BC) to play the singles matches for the fourth time this week. Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev selected Karen Khachanov (17) and Andrey Rublev (23).
The tie was the first between Canada and Russia since 1969. The teams had previously met on only one occasion from which Russia emerged victorious.
Pospisil headed out first with a perfect 3-0 Davis Cup Finals record with his three wins over Top 40 players. But the World No.150 couldn’t keep the momentum going and fell in two identical sets (6-4, 6-4). He got off to a slow start, dropping the first eight points and losing his serve. The 29-year-old then tried hard to turn things around but, on his sixth try, Rublev secured the first set. The second set was a lot like the first, and Pospisil was broken again early on. He managed to level the playing field at 3-3, but was broken in the next game and never recovered.
Shapovalov had the pressure of an entire nation on his shoulders in his match against Khachanov. The World No.15 and World No.17 collided for the first time in their careers, and Khachanov’s strong start quickly led him to a 4-1 lead. But Shapovalov found his rhythm, got fired up and won five consecutive games to claim the first set. Khachanov stayed in it and forced a third set with a lone break at 5-4. The Canadian then broke Khachanov at 3-3. Serving for the match at 5-4, the Shapovalov clawed his way back from a 0-40 deficit and nabbed the point for his country.
For a second consecutive tie, Pospisil and Shapovalov teamed up to clinch the nation’s winning point. They fought until the very end—a dramatic third-set tiebreak—to confirm their supremacy over Khachanov and Rublev (3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5)). Both teams demonstrated a tremendously high level of play, but Canada was able to come back from 3-0 and 4-1 in the tiebreaker and take its rightful place in the Davis Cup Finals for the very first time in its history. Canada had come up short in two previous semifinals, the last being in 2013 against Serbia.
The ultimate showdown gets underway at 10:45 a.m. EST on Sunday and will be televised on Sportsnet One. Canada will try to topple the winner of the other semifinal between Spain and Great Britain.
With its semifinal appearance, Canada merited its place in the 2020 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals, which will also be presented in Madrid, and is therefore exempt from playing in the qualifying event next March.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“Today was an incredible match. The doubles, with the buildup, obviously; getting to this moment, the last five days took a lot of emotions, even to get to this match. It’s building, building, building in every match. It gets that much more emotional. It’s a huge success. To win that in the third set tiebreak made it that much more dramatic, that much more special. It’s pretty incredible to make the finals for the first time in history for Canada. And, to do it the way it happened, was very special to be a part of.”
“For me, I’ve been on the tour for 12 years now, and it’s an incredible moment to be a part of it. I was injured in the beginning of this year, had surgery, wasn’t sure how many moments like this I might have, but I got back at a really high level much faster than I expected, which was really nice. I worked really hard for that. Playing in the Davis Cup Final for Canada, it’s pretty incredible.”
“In terms of what we’ve been doing this week, there is really no word for it. I don’t think any of us expected that we could get this far. We knew we had a great team, but you need a bit of luck on your side and to play some ridiculous tennis—play at a ridiculous level—and we played at a ridiculous level today. I’m super stoked to be in the finals. It’s one of my dreams to play in a Davis Cup Final. To bring the country to this position, it’s just a dream come true.”
“It’s been an amazing ride so far as a captain. It’s quite new to me. I’ve been doing this for two and a half years. To be in this position, this early in my captain career, has been amazing. It’s a great team to back it up. These guys are world-class players, and, this week, they’ve played lights out. I’m really happy with everything that’s going on. I wasn’t expecting it. I knew we had a great team, knew we had great players, but to play in a Davis Cup Final is a really big deal. It’s sort of surreal. We have a shot at the title. It’s great.”
About Davis Cup
Davis Cup by Rakuten is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in sport, with 133 nations entered in 2019. The competition is 119 years old, having been founded in 1900. In 2019, the all-new Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals will be hosted at the iconic La Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain. Twenty-four nations will contest the Qualifiers on 1-2 February, competing in 12 locations around the world on a home-and-away basis. The 12 winning teams will join the 2018 semifinalists plus two wild card teams in an 18-nation Davis Cup season finale.
About Tennis Canada
Founded in 1890, Tennis Canada is a non-profit, national sport association with a mission to lead the growth of tennis in Canada and a vision to become a world-leading tennis nation. We value teamwork, passion, integrity, innovation and excellence. Tennis Canada owns and operates the premier Rogers Cup presented by National Bank WTA and ATP World Tour events and one professional ITF sanctioned event. Tennis Canada also owns and financially supports 13 other professional tournaments in Canada. Tennis Canada operates junior national training centres/programs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Tennis Canada is a proud member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the International Wheelchair Tennis Association, and serves to administer, sponsor and select the teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and all wheelchair, junior and senior national teams. Tennis Canada invests its surplus into tennis development. For more information on Tennis Canada please visit our Web site at: www.tenniscanada.com and follow us on Facebookand Twitter.
ATLANTA — A determined group of Atlanta Hawks gave the Raptors a fight, but ran out of gas a night after playing on the road. Toronto pushed the pace in the fourth quarter and survived an improbable late rally to improve to 11-4 with the 119-116 win. The Raptors led by 11 with 1:38 left, […]Raptors survive against Young, Vince Carter and Hawks — Toronto Sun
De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting in a 119-116 Atlanta Hawks loss to the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors on Saturday.Another big night for De’Andre Hunter in Hawks loss — Augusta Free Press
Sports have been and still are a huge part of my life and many others. The way someone feels when the team they pick to support wins it all, is unexplainable. Some peoples teams may never win in their lifetime so for me, it was a truly amazing experience that I will never forget. In […]Raptors Historic Championship Run — Web Design Basics
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the difference between tonight’s game and Thursday’s game:
Very different, of course. The opponent is different, the challenge is different, the whole of the game is different, I thought our energy level was different. We just looked like a tired team out there for a lot of the game, but I liked the fact that we got scored on in the first shift and, while it took us a couple of shifts there to find our way back, I thought we took over the game after that. That was really positive. Obviously, we built ourselves a very nice lead. That’s a good team, they’re going to push, they’re going to make it hard on us and we battled to find a way to finish it off.
On if the team was as excited for Barrie’s second goal:
I think it’s a little more old hat, but certainly we felt good for him. Just the way that it went in and, obviously, we made the switch on the power play and it’s our first power play with that group together and it works out that way. It’s pretty nice.
On the importance of the team grinding out an ugly win:
Wins, in general, are important. I thought, while it was ugly, what it did require was us to really to battle and especially down the stretch to the end of that game. We had some guys out there really competing, really making it hard on the other team in getting sticks on pucks and blocking shots and denying lanes. Being tired, having to fight through that – I’ve only been here a few days, but these guys have been on the road a long time, grinding, they’ve been through a lot. I like how we persevered, how Freddie [Andersen] battled real hard in net. It was a good win, we’ll get out of here with another two points, get home and get a couple of practice days and get back out on the road.
On upcoming practice days as a good opportunity for him to work with the group:
It is. It’s nice, it’s important. Things will settle down from here. Today was really a nice, kind of normal day. It was a little slower, no morning skate given it was a 5 o’clock start so we got to spend a little more time together as a staff in a little more relaxed environment. It’s not going to be like that when we get back home. We’ll work on some things and continue to grow the group, I’ll get a chance to continue to grow my relationship with individual players and, for me, that’s the priority right now. The other stuff will come together in time.
On calling a timeout on a third period power play to leave the first power play group on the ice:
In particular, with our team and the way it is, we have elite talent, so the more we can utilize them when their energy level is good, we’re going to do it. We’re going to take advantage of that. That was sort of the method to the madness of calling the timeout at that point in time. I just thought it was a key point in the game and if we could find a way to score it would be really good for us. We wanted to make sure those guys were fresh.
On if he knew why Andersen was speaking to the officials following his equipment issue after Colorado’s third goal:
I had no idea. I didn’t know what was going on. We were searching trying to figure out if there was goalie interference that we had missed, whether we could challenge something. It was really loud in the building at the time so we couldn’t really communicate with Freddie. I didn’t know the rule and whether he was allowed to leave his net like that. I think that he’s not so they could have called a penalty for leaving the net. I didn’t quite know what happened there.
On the toughest part of his system for players to grasp:
The toughest thing to grasp is just when to hang onto the puck for a little bit longer than you normally would and when to move it quickly. When to utilize speed and just look at things on the ice. That’s the difficult part, is that decision making. I think we have players with really good hockey sense, really good skill and, in time, they’ll recognize the patterns, recognize the pressures that are coming at them. Also recognize the time of the game, the time of the period and what’s happening in the shift. All of those types of things I think we’ll be able to talk them through until they recognize it. I thought one of the nice things that I talked about at the end of the second period – obviously the second wasn’t great for us – but I just thought, this is us as a team, a new system, a new kind of philosophy here, trying to figure out how to play with a lead. That’s a challenge for us and we’re fortunate that we got the win. At the same time, we’ll have lots of good clips and lots of good teaching points to get better this week.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (34 SAVES)
On what the team did to enable him to secure the win:
Just battle. I think everyone was out there battling. I thought we were happy being in the middle, taking away the cross-ice seams as much as possible, eating a few pucks and blocking some shots when it came to it. I thought it was great.
On his equipment issue prior to the third Colorado goal:
Yeah, I don’t know if you could see it but the cage had a huge dent in it. I was trying to get it blown down so I could get a new one on. I don’t know if the ref didn’t see it, I was trying to get his attention.
TYSON BARRIE (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On tonight’s win:
I think we had a bit of slow start and then responded well in the first and then they were kind of all over in the last two periods there. It was a great game by Freddie [Andersen] and we showed a lot of character gutting that one out in the end.
On the crowd reaction to his video tribute in the first period:
That’s amazing. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel coming back here and whatnot, but it’s been an amazing place to call home the last few years. That really topped it off. It’ll always be special to me and these fans are great. It’s a great hockey club over there so it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch these guys for a lot of years.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On tonight’s win:
I think it just took us a couple of shifts to get our legs going. Obviously, that first shift they were buzzing around and I thought we had a good response with a couple of big goals and just tried to put our foot on the gas. It kind of got away from us a little bit in the second and third. I think that’s just going through the process of changing things up on the fly, so I think it’ll be good to get a couple of practice days in before we get on the road again, and kind of dial some things in.
On scoring early into the team’s first power play:
Yeah, it was good for us – good for [Barrie], too – a big goal coming back here in a place that he spent a lot of time. That gave us some jump as well. Like I said, a couple big goals to get us back in the lead.
JOHN TAVARES (22:31 TOI)
On tonight’s win:
I think as we continue to make some changes there’ll be some growing pains. We had a lot of good things, especially a lot of the first period, I think through many stretches tonight. Just gutting out some wins, especially against a very goos team here today. I think a hell of a job by everyone to get the result we needed. We’ll get some valuable practice time to continue to progress in another big week next week.
On the biggest change head coach Sheldon Keefe is asking for:
Well, I think we talked about controlling the play and I think a lot of that is just us trying to value when we have it and trying to create odd-man situations all over the ice and finding the open areas. Understanding that doesn’t mean taking risk and not being smart about it. I think we have to play a smart game but we also want to be patient and try to control the play.