Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, kisses the championship trophy(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Canada’s most memorable Grand Slam tennis moments

The history of tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments — Wimbledon, U.S. Open, French Open, and Australian Open — date back to the late 19th century. The “Open Era” that we know now, allowing professionals to compete, began in 1968.

Canada had its first trophy moment at a Grand Slam in 1999 when Sébastien Lareau claimed the U.S. Open title in men’s doubles.

It took until 2014 for the country to have a major Grand Slam singles moment. Until Eugenie Bouchard‘s ascent to the Wimbledon final that year, no Canadian player had made it that far all on their own.

Then, in 2019, a teenager named Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian ever to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Here’s a look back at some of Canada’s most memorable Grand Slam moments:

Sébastien Lareau secures Canada’s first Grand Slam title

Paving the way for future Canadian tennis success, in 1999 Sébastien Lareau became the first Canadian to ever win a Grand Slam title. He and American partner Alex O’Brien defeated India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the men’s doubles U.S. Open final.

Sebastien Lareau holds up the US Open trophy with doubles partner Alex O'Brien
Alex O’Brien, left, of Amarillo, Tex., and Sebastien Lareau, of Canada, hold up their trophy after defeating India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the men’s doubles finals at the U.S. Open tennis tournament Friday, Sept. 10, 1999, in New York. Lareau and O’Brien won 7-6 (9-7), 6-4. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Lareau is a two-time Olympian who competed at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. For the latter, Lareau and fellow Canadian Daniel Nestor left successful international partnerships to team up in an effort to win Canada’s first Olympic tennis medal.

It worked. Lareau and Nestor defeated the home favourites from Australia to win the gold medal. It was quite an upset as the Aussie duo of Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde had been the defending champions and 11-time Grand Slam champions.

Sébastien Lareau and Daniel Nestor celebrate their men’s doubles tennis Olympic gold at Sydney 2000. (CP PHOTO/Ryan Remiorz)

Daniel Nestor’s Golden Slam

Following that Olympic gold medal, Daniel Nestor went on to produce so many memorable moments, it’s impossible to choose just one.

Over the course of his career, Nestor won eight Grand Slam men’s doubles titles and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. He is among just five men’s doubles players to have won a career “Golden Slam” (all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal). That includes an Australian Open title in 2002, a U.S. Open title in 2004, Wimbledon titles in 2008 and 2009, and French Open titles in 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Daniel Nestor and teammate Mark Knowles hold up their French Open doubles trophy
Canada’s Daniel Nestor, right, and Mark Knowles of Bahamas hold the trophy after defeating Czech Republic’s Lukas Dlouhy and Paul Vizner, in the men’s doubles final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday, June 9, 2007. Nestor and Knowles won 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Nestor also earned the distinction of being the first ever doubles player to win every Masters 1000 tournament and to reach 1000 career match victories.

Nestor made an incredible six Olympic appearances at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. In 2016, Nestor came oh so close to a second Olympic medal when he and partner Vasek Pospisil finished just off the podium in fourth place.

Eugenie Bouchard becomes first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam singles final

When Eugenie Bouchard reached the Wimbledon women’s final in 2014, it marked the first time a Canadian player had reached a Grand Slam singles final in the open era.

Eugenie Bouchard returns a shot while wearing white at Wimbledon
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada plays a return to Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during their women’s singles final at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Saturday, July 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Bouchard was showing promise as a rising talent, having reached two Grand Slam semifinals earlier that year at both the Australian and French Opens. While then-20-year-old Bouchard was not successful in taking down Petra Kvitova, her appearance in the final marked a huge moment in both her career and in Canadian tennis. It helped earn her the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canadian Press Female Athlete of the year for the second straight year.

Bouchard went on to make her Olympic debut at Rio 2016. She advanced to the second round of both the singles and doubles tournaments, playing in the latter with Gaby Dabrowski.

Milos Raonic defeats Federer to face Murray

Following in Bouchard’s footsteps, Olympian Milos Raonic reached the 2016 Wimbledon final, becoming the first Canadian man to play in a Grand Slam singles final. To get there, he defeated the legendary Roger Federer on one of his best surfaces. Down two sets to one, Raonic came back to win the last two sets to get past the man who, at that point, already had seven Wimbledon titles to his credit.

Milos Raonic of Canada hits a return to Andy Murray of Britain during the men’s singles final on the fourteenth day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

His final opponent was just as tough as Scotsman Andy Murray had the home British crowd fully behind him. Despite Raonic coming in with an incredible 137 aces throughout the tournament, Murray was able to prevent Raonic from landing a single ace within the first five games of the match. The Canadian pushed the Brit to tiebreak twice, but was ultimately defeated as Murray achieved his third Grand Slam title.

Bianca Andreescu makes Canadian history at Flushing Meadows

With what seemed like the whole country watching the final of the 2019 U.S. Open with baited breath, Bianca Andreescu defeated tennis legend Serena Williams to become the first ever Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title.

It was the first time that then-19-year-old Andreescu had appeared in the main draw for the tournament. Her victory rendered her the first teenager to win a Grand Slam crown since Maria Sharapova in 2006. Facing off against then-37-year-old Williams, youth did triumph over experience.

Just a few weeks earlier, Andreescu and Williams had met in the final of the Rogers Cup — a match that ended with Andreescu lifting the trophy in front of the Canadian crowd when Williams had to withdraw due to a back injury.

At the U.S. Open, Andreescu had to deal with a New York crowd that was decisively not on her side. At one point during the match, Andreescu had to put her fingers in her ears to try and drown out the noise as the crowd urged Williams to come back from behind. She acknowledged to the crowd in her victory speech, “I knew you wanted Serena to win.”

Andreescu also paid tribute to Williams in her speech, “To play on this stage against Serena – a true legend of the sport – is amazing.”

READ: Bianca Andreescu is Canada’s Athlete of the Year

Fernandez a finalist in battle of the teens

When then-19-year-old Leylah Fernandez faced off against then-18-year-old Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in 2021 it was the U.S. Open’s first all-teenager final since 1999. Neither Raducanu nor Fernandez had made it past the fourth round of a major before the tournament. Raducanu ultimately defeated Fernandez in straight sets.

READ: By the Numbers: Leylah Fernandez, US Open Finalist

After the match, Queen Elizabeth II sent a letter to Raducanu in which she congratulated both young athletes, writing: “I have no doubt that your outstanding performance, and that of your opponent Leylah Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players.”

Doing new things in doubles at 2023 French Open

Though their singles draw didn’t go quite as hoped, Andreescu and Fernandez made some more history at Roland-Garros in 2023. By playing in the mixed doubles final and women’s doubles final, respectively, they became the first Canadian players to ever reach a Grand Slam final in both singles and doubles in their career.

Andreescu believes that playing doubles helps with her mental game for singles play, as she gets the benefit of sharing the pressure on the court. “Sometimes I feel like I can be too serious, too hard on myself,” Andreescu said. “It’s obviously nice to have someone to tell you that everything is fine, don’t worry about it, just move on to the next point.”

Though Andreescu and New Zealand partner Michael Venus lost the final to Japan’s Miyu Kato and Germany’s Tim Puetz, it was Andreescu’s first major final since winning the 2019 U.S Open.

Fernandez and American Taylor Townsend had debuted as a doubles team in March. Crowd favourites, they garnered the team nickname “TeyLah.” Facing off in the final against Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei and China’s Wang Xinyu, the duo were close, but unable to claim the title.

Similarly to Andreescu, Fernandez finds doubles play a good mental refresh and opportunity to learn from her partner. In particular, the elder Townsend is helping her learn to move on faster after tough losses. Immediately post-match, the crowd observed Townsend placing both hands on the shoulders of a visibly upset Fernandez and delivering a pep talk.