TENNIS CANADA NAMES MILOS RAONIC AND EUGENIE BOUCHARD 2015 BIRKS PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

December 22, 2015

Tennis Canada - Vasek Pospisil recipient of two Excellence Awards; Gabriela Dabrowski and Carol Zhao round out winners

Toronto, December 22, 2015 – Tennis Canada announced Tuesday that Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.) has been named Birks Male Player of the Year for the fifth straight season, while Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal) is the recipient of the Birks Female Player of the Year for a third time. The other high performance Tennis Canada Excellence Awards have also been presented with the Doubles Player of the Year awards given to Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa) and Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver). Pospisil also is the winner of Most Improved Male Player of the Year, with Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, Ont.) receiving the female honour.

“We are so proud of these athletes and everything they have accomplished,” said Kelly Murumets, president and CEO, Tennis Canada. “Their dedication, passion for the sport, and pursuit of excellence is evident in the hard work they put forth every day, and they continue to inspire us. Congratulations to Eugenie, Milos, Vasek, Gabriela, and Carol on your success and we wish you all the best in 2016.”

Raonic had a strong start to the season, making the final at Brisbane and the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. At Indian Wells in March, he defeated Rafael Nadal for the first time to advance into his fifth Masters 1000 semifinal. He hit a new career-high ranking of world No. 4 in May to become the first Canadian to ever rank Top 4 in singles. His best result in the back half of the season was capturing his seventh ATP World Tour title at St. Petersburg to make it five straight years he has won at least one trophy.

Bouchard’s best performance of the season was in her first tournament, as she made her fourth career Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open. She also made the fourth round at Indian Wells and posted impressive wins to reach the round of 16 at the US Open.

Pospisil is the recipient of two awards for 2015, male doubles player of the year and most improved male player. In doubles, Pospisil followed up his 2014 success by winning his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells with partner Jack Sock. He and Sock also won Beijing and finished as runners-up at the Masters 1000 tournaments in Miami and Paris. Pospisil reached a career-high doubles ranking of world No. 4 in April. On the singles side, Pospisil won three five-setters en route to breaking out at Wimbledon to make his first Slam quarter-final. In his last event of the year, he also made the Valencia semifinals.

The female doubles player of the year is Dabrowski, who remained steady as the top-ranked female doubles player in the country. In March, she won her second career WTA title alongside partner Alicja Rosolska at Monterrey. She also reached the semifinals of Stanford, seven other WTA quarter-finals and the third round of the Australian Open. Finishing the year at No. 48, an improvement from 2014, her career-high is world No. 40 from May of this year.

For her part, most improved female player Zhao made her mark in the NCAA world. She advanced into the Division I singles final and began the 2015-16 season – her junior year – as the No. 1-ranked player in the nation. She also made strides on the pro circuit, making three ITF semifinals at the $50,000 Tevlin Challenger in Toronto and two $25K events in Sumter, South Carolina and Gatineau, Que. She reached a career-high of world No. 247 in July.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Tennis Canada in order to highlight the talent of these inspiring Canadian athletes who impress us every year,” said Jean-Christophe Bédos, president and CEO of Birks Group Inc. "Congratulations to the honorees and winners of the 2015 Birks Players of the Year.”

The Tennis Canada Excellence Awards are selected by a committee comprised of high-ranking Tennis Canada personnel and the country’s top national coaches.

TENNIS CANADA EXCELLENCE AWARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONOURS
 

Year

Male Player of the Year

Female Player of the Year

1982

Rejean Genois (Laval, QC)

Marjorie Blackwood (Whistler, BC)

1983

Glenn Michibata (Toronto, ON)

Carling Bassett (Toronto, ON)

1984

Martin Wostenholme (Toronto, ON)

Carling Bassett (Toronto, ON)

1985

Glenn Michibata (Toronto, ON)

Carling Bassett (Toronto, ON)

1986

Andrew Sznajder (Toronto, ON)

Helen Kelesi (Toronto, ON)

1987

Grant Connell (Vancouver, BC)

Helen Kelesi (Toronto, ON)

1988

Andrew Sznajder (Toronto, ON)

Jill Hetherington (Brampton, ON)

1989

Andrew Sznajder (Toronto, ON)

Helen Kelesi (Toronto, ON)

1990

Grant Connell (Vancouver, BC)

Helen Kelesi (Toronto, ON)

1991

Grant Connell (Vancouver, BC)

Patricia Hy (Montreal, QC)

1992

Grant Connell (Vancouver, BC)

Patricia Hy (Montreal, QC)

1993

Greg Rusedski (Montreal, QC)

Patricia Hy (Montreal, QC)

1994

Sebastien Lareau (Montreal, QC)

Jana Nejedly (Vancouver, BC)

1995

Grant Connell (Vancouver, BC)

Patricia Hy-Boulais (Montreal, QC)

1996

Sebastien Lareau (Montreal, QC)

Patricia Hy-Boulais (Montreal, QC)

1997

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Patricia Hy- Boulais (Montreal, QC)

1998

No record of award

No record of award

1999

No record of award

No record of award

2000

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON) & Sebastien Lareau (Montreal, QC)

Sonya Jeyaseelan (New Westminster, BC)

2001

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Jana Nejedly (Vancouver, BC)

2002

Frederic Niemeyer (Sherbrooke, QC)

Maureen Drake (Toronto, ON)

2003

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Maureen Drake (Toronto, ON)

2004

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC)

2005

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Stephanie Dubois (Laval, QC)

2006

Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, ON)

Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC)

2007

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Stephanie Dubois (Laval, QC)

2008

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC)

2009

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC)

2010

Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON)

Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC)

2011

Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON)

Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC)

2012

Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON)

Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC)

2013

Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON)

Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal, QC)

2014

Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON)

Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal, QC)

2015

Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON)

Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal, QC)

About Birks
Birks Group is a leading operator of 49 prestige jewellery stores in Canada and the United States. The company operates 28 Birks stores located in most of Canada’s major urban areas, 18 Mayors stores in Florida and Georgia, two Brinkhaus stores in Calgary and Vancouver and one Rolex store in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 1879, Birks has over the years become one of Canada’s leading retailers, designers and manufacturers of high-end jewellery, watches, sterling and silver-plated silverware, as well as gifts. Visit www.birks.com.

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, eight professional ITF- sanctioned events and financially supports 15 other professional tournaments in Canada. Tennis Canada operates national junior training centres/programs in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. 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 website at www.tenniscanada.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Media Contacts (Toronto):
Sarah Grossman, National Manager, Communications and Media Relations, Professional Tennis
          416-650-7922, or sgrossman@tenniscanada.com
Nicole Watts, Manager, Communications
          416-665-9777 ext. 4092, or nwatts@tenniscanada.com
 
Media Contacts (Montreal):
Valerie Tetreault, Regional Manager, Communications and Media Relations
         514-273-1515 ext. 259, vtetreault@tenniscanada.com