This article was originally published on the Tennis Canada website.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Tennis Canada announced the six athletes who have been nominated to represent Canada at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games from July 10 to 26 at the Canadian Tennis Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The final team was determined based on the ATP World Tour and WTA world rankings on June 1, 2015.
The women’s roster will feature rising 18-year-old Françoise Abanda, Canada’s No. 2-ranked singles player Gabriela Dabrowski, and former world No. 77 Sharon Fichman. All three athletes are members of Canada’s Fed Cup team. Dabrowski and Fichman, who regularly play together at Fed Cup, will also team up for the women’s doubles event. Both players have captured WTA doubles titles, with doubles world No. 40 Dabrowski winning her second earlier this year.
Philip Bester, Peter Polansky, and Brayden Schnur will comprise the men’s squad. Combined, the three players have won 21 professional-level singles titles while Schnur is also currently a top-ranked NCAA Division I athlete at the University of North Carolina. Polansky holds the highest-career ranking of the trio at world No. 122. The pairing of Bester and Schnur will be Canada’s entry into the men’s doubles tournament.
Dabrowski and Bester will also compete in the mixed doubles draw together.
Team Canada will be aiming to capture its first tennis medal since the Winnipeg 1999 Pan American Games, when Renata Kolbovic and Aneta Soukup won a bronze medal on home soil in women’s doubles. Canada has hit the podium at least two other times in history, with Robert Bedard winning silver in men’s singles at the 1959 Chicago Games and Faye Urban and Vicki Berner clinching women’s doubles bronze at the 1967 Winnipeg Games. The Canadians will have chances for medals in five events this summer – men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
Canada will field the largest team in its Pan American Games history with over 700 athletes expected to be named to the Team at the Games in Toronto. With TORONTO 2015 providing a “Home Games” experience, as well as a number of qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, these Games will offer a tremendous experience for Canada’s high performance athletes.
“Our tennis players are strong and I know they will bring fierce competition to the Pan Am Games in Toronto this summer. Congratulations to the athletes who made the team and to Tennis Canada for delivering such a strong squad.”
Marcel Aubut, President, Canadian Olympic Committee
“Congratulations to the six players nominated to the team today. These athletes should be very proud and excited about the opportunity to represent their country. Tennis has grown a tremendous amount in this country and Canadians should get behind our tennis players to support the work they have done leading up to this day.”
Curt Harnett, TORONTO 2015 Team Canada Chef de Mission
“It always means so much to me to represent Canada and being able to play for my country at the Pan Am Games in my own hometown will be an even bigger honour. Being on the pro tour means I rarely get to spend time at home, so the chance to compete at such a big event in front of my friends and family is so special. I’m very excited for the summer and hope to make everyone proud!”
Sharon Fichman, TORONTO 2015 Canadian tennis team member
“I am so looking forward to cheering on our athletes at the Pan Am Games right in our own backyard. It will be such a unique and special experience to play in an important multi-sport event on home soil and I know all our athletes are excited and proud to wear the red maple leaf. This is a group of very talented tennis players, and not only will they put on a great show for the home fans, but we believe they will be contending for medals.”
Kelly Murumets, Tennis Canada President and CEO
“Congratulations to the athletes who will make up Canada’s tennis team for the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games. Along with the coaches, family and supporters who have encouraged you, I join all Canadians in wishing you the best as you compete here at home during our Year of Sport.”
The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport)
The athletes who will represent Canada at TORONTO 2015 as members of the tennis team are: