So, I've been around this forum for what seems like forever. I've always been one of the biggest fans/defender of Canadian tennis out here, and while I am not as much of a fanatic as I used to be, I still follow things very closely.
Everybody is going crazy over the 'state' of Canadian tennis, how remarkable it is for us right now, etc. But honestly, looking at the rankings, I actually don't agree that it's going that well...And I want your opinion.
Ok yes, we have Genie. Her rise to stardom was impressive. But she and Milos are just talented athletes, who are not coming out of the structure Tennis Canada is raving about. So I'll count them out of this debate. If we look most closely at the rest of the field, it's not looking great.
You have the 'veterans', like Alekz Wozniak. She has been injured and it's great to see her back. She's been there for over 10 years now, so we can't really count her as coming out of the actual crop. Then you have Heidi, who is also quite talented but has been spending most of her life in the 150-250 range.
Then there is Sharon Fichman and Gab Dabrowski. Both are talented, both had incredible junior careers. Both can play some inspired doubles, and both are just a touch too old to be part of the Tennis Canada National Training Center system. Gab had a brief moment there which was totally unsuccessful.
So let's actually look at the generation which could have been coming from the National Training Center, i.e. girls between 1992 and 2000-ish. 10 of them are ranked right now, with 5 of them in top 700.
- Abanda (313);
- Zhao (373);
- Andreescu (640);
- Robillard-Millette (667);
- Liang (689);
Abanda is the prime example of a player who has used the NTC. She has had the best coaches there is, was a top junior player pretty much since U12. She has always been physically incredibly strong, which helped her in juniors, especially early on in her career. But despite some impressive showings at a few major pro events, she has been struggling to win regularly. At that stage, she should firmly be in the top 200, but most likely will be out of the top 400 next week. Nevertheless, TennisCanada is paying her full time coach, who is actually one of the most high-level available coaches around.
Zhao is talented and also was in the NTC. She decided to go through the NCAA route which was smart and is now trying on the pro tour. Can't really say much about her pro career because she is just starting it, but she has had some good results this summer. Should be able to compete in GS qualies, but would be a surprising top 100 player.
Andreescu and Robillard-Millette are great prospects. Andreescu hasn't been following the Tennis Canada route and it seems to be paying off, while Robillard-Millette is a pure product of the NTC. Both are young and could do a lot, but it's early to tell despite some promising pro runs already.
Liang has turned pro 2 years ago and despite some wins at 10k level, is not doing that great.
So if we look back at the past 6-7 years of the NTC, their success is actually very similar to the generation right before. You have 1-2 players coming out of each 'generation' (i.e. period of 3 years), and those players are very likely NOT to come from the NTC.
If you look at the list of players which were in the NTC program, i.e. Jodoin, E. Abanda, Routliffe, Zhao, Liang, Gingras, Blajkhevitz, you see that they simply created a machine for NCAA players. And that machine already existed before.
There used to be 1 or 2 players in the MD of slams, and 4-5 in qualies. Now there is 1 in Main Draw (ranked higher than before) but only 1-2 in qualies. This means all the money is going on one player.
What do you think? (and sorry for the rant