The 2000s: Borfiga, Raonic, Niemeyer, Klinger, Steckley, Agostinelli & Diallo

The Architect

Louis Borfiga

Borfiga is the man who has brought through a generation of Canadian talent – Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard, Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Leylah Fernandez, a golden list that is the envy of many of many countries, where the situation is more complicated at the moment.

There’s No Reason for it Not to Happen in France

Louis was recently appointed to the Order of Canada.

OC: Did you watch Canada’s win?

LB: I was in front of my television living the match in very intense way.

OC: What made it possible?

LB: The team is the reward of a whole system put in place a few years ago, a state of mind instilled at an early age. The staff is incredible and is a big part of Canada’s success. I think one of my best decisions was to have named Frank Dancevic, Davis cup captain after the legendary Marty Laurendeau . I am very proud of the staff.

OC: Are you still involved in the game?

LB: I live in France now, retired and working part-time for the French Federation as advisor of Gilles Moretton, chair of the board.


The Dream Becomes a Possibility

Milos Raonic

MR: For me, DC was one of the best learning experiences as a junior. Being a hitting partner on the team when I was 16 in Calgary vs Colombia, I believe. I got to see how real pros behaved and prepared. Being around Frank, Fred, and Daniel was a massive experience for me. This also motivated me and gave me a kick in the butt on what I needed to be more like when I went back home. 

As a player getting to play in front of fans at home was the best feeling. Everyone is united by the pride of being Canadian. It was special and quite different from playing the masters in Toronto or Montreal. 

Also, this meant a lot to me to give back and get Canada into the world group. It was always different playing individual tournaments, and it said “CAN” by your name compared to playing with CANADA across the back of your shirt with teammates. This was an exceptional experience that I have yet to feel again on the court in any different competition. 

The 2 most meaningful memories for me were as a junior being a hitting partner of the team in Calgary and the year we made the semis in 2013 vs Serbia. 

That one had 2 significant ties and victories for us before in Vancouver. I wish I could have been there with the team last year when they won the whole thing in Spain. That seems like it was something really special to experience. 



Canada’s Former #1

Fred Niemeyer

ONcourt: Niemeyer took over as Canada’s top-ranked singles player in the ATP rankings on 7 January 2002, when he surpassed both Sébastien Lareau and Daniel Nestor and remained Canada no. 1 until 6 January 2003. He had multiple stints as Canada’s number one over the next three years alternating with Simon Larose and Frank Dancevic until 30 January 2006.

OC: What did you think of Davis Cup when developing as a player?

FN: Growing up, I was deeply inspired by the Davis Cup match between Sweden and Canada where Nestor defeated the world number one player. The electrifying atmosphere and the rush of excitement I felt left a lasting impression on me. I was motivated to pursue a career in tennis and experience the thrill of playing for my country. The Davis Cup holds a special place in my heart as it combines the thrill of individual performance with the support and encouragement of a nation. Each time I have had the privilege to represent my country in the Davis Cup, it has been a highlight of my career and a cherished memory.

OC: Give us a memory of your DC experience? A match, a situation, something funny…

FN: Playing in the fervent and passionate South American countries has been a truly unforgettable experience in my sports career. The fans in these countries are known for their intense and enthusiastic support, and the matches here can be both exhilarating and challenging. From dealing with shouting insults and having objects thrown at me during the match, to facing distractions from mascots and being blinded by mirrors, I’ve encountered it all. But, competing in my own country has also been a unique experience. The energy and support of the home crowd can propel an athlete to perform at levels beyond their expectations. I still get chills remembering the feeling of playing in front of a supportive and energetic home crowd, and it’s a feeling that truly makes all the difference in elevating my performance.

OC: What are your thoughts on Canada winning the Cup?

FN: The experience of winning the Cup must have been genuinely indescribable for these athletes. To imagine their feelings of triumph and achievement after winning the Cup is truly awe-inspiring. I feel privileged to have formed a personal connection with Vasek and Felix during our time working together and to feel, even in a small way, that I have played a role in their historic journey to winning the Cup. I hope that this story will inspire future generations to experience the same thrill and excitement, but with even greater passion.


27 Aces Against Peru

Matt Klinger

Matt Klinger was a former Canadian Junior Champion who started his high performance training at the old All Canadian Academy at York University. He then had a stellar collegiate career playing in the number one position at Arizona State University, before graduating to the Canadian Davis Cup Team. He featured in a 2003 Davis Cup tie against Peru in Calgary, serving 27 aces to beat Willy Lock in straight sets. Before competing professionally, he played collegiate tennis for Arizona State University.

MK: My thoughts DC growing up were that the team was a bunch of warriors going out to battle representing our country. I thought it was awe-inspiring and it motivated me to try my best to get there i needed to be a part of it.

My best memory of the tie was the comradery on the team, great players, great guys, and Nestor finding doppelgangers in the stands. But by far, my best memory is winning, best feeling in the world. It was not my best performance but I did have 27 aces and got the W, it felt amazing, almost as good as Miss Hawaiian Tropic Alberta did later that night.

Canada’s win was simply awesome.



The One and Only

Rob Steckley

A member of the Canada Davis Cup team in 2005 and 2006, Steckley played in three singles rubbers. On debut in 2005 he defeated Daniel Vallverdú of Venezuela. A former national Junior Champion, Steckley has coached Lucie Šafáová and Denis Shapovalov ,

RS: I can always remember Davis cup being this monumental event which took place. The ultimate reward for a player playing well and getting chosen to play for their country. It was very much a motivating force to stay focused through the year so that your name was on that team and you were chosen to help represent CANADA.

My best memory about the Davis Cup wasn’t so much a specific moment. For me, it was about the atmosphere in general. Being part of Canada’s best. That feeling in the locker room knowing you are there with your teammates representing CANADA wearing that red and white. Everything just feels a little bit different in those moments.

Canada’s latest Davis cup win was decades in the making. Incredible to see this happen. Feel very fortunate and blessed for anyone and everyone who has been a part of the journey.


In Memory

Bruno Agostinelli

ONcourt: Bruno Agostinelli Jr. was a member of Canada’s Davis Cup team in 2009. He defeated Ivan Miranda in four sets in a deciding rubber match to clinch a 3-2 victory for Canada over host Peru at the Club Lawn Tennis De La Exposicion in Lima (2009). Beloved Canadian tennis star Bruno Agostinelli Jr. passed away tragically in 2016 at the age of 28. The republishing of the Ontario Tennis article by his younger brother Gianluca is the best tribute we could pay to Bruno and his family, one of the nicest guys to ever represent Canada.


Up and coming

Gabriel Diallo

Gabriel is one of the young guns providing depth to our Davis Cup team. The 6’ 8” player made his ATP debut in the qualifying competition as a wildcard at the 2022 National Bank Open in Montreal where he defeated James Duckworth in the first round. In the main draw, Diallo won 5 consecutive matches to claim his maiden title at the 2022 Granby Challenger in only his fourth main-draw Challenger-level tournament. The 20-year-old was the youngest Canadian champion on the Challenger Tour since Felix Auger-Aliassime won the Tashkent Challenger in 2018. He is presently ranked 211 ATP and is finishing his last year at University of Kentucky.

OC: What was the week like?

GD: For this week, obviously I was just trying to do my part and get ready in case someone would get injured and from a bench perspective, trying to be positive during the matches and cheer the guy or guys playing. 

OC: What was the turning point of Canada’s win?

GD: I think the turning point of the tie would be when Vasek and Denis played the deciding doubles against Germany and played some of the best tennis I have seen in the third set to get us into the semifinals.

OC: What did the week mean to you?

GD: I think that it was a really motivating experience because it doesn’t often happen to be a world champion and it will definitely motivated me to try my hardest to represent my country the best I can if the opportunity comes. 


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