MELBOURNE, Australia – Canadian men’s tennis was brought to its knees last year – literally – as its two top stars both saw their seasons compromised by left knee ligament issues.
But as 2024 dawns, having taken different paths to healing and in managing their 2023 scheduled, Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime both started back in Auckland.
And on Monday at the Australian Open, both will look to get off to a winning start.
James Blake in the house
As Shapovalov was practicing over the weekend, he had a rather familiar face on the court lending an extra pair of eyes.
That would be James Blake, the former world No. 4 who is the tournament director at the Miami Open.
Blake is a good friend of Matt Daly, who is Shapovalov’s coach. Daly and Blake’s longtime coach Brian Barker have an academy together in Connecticut. So that’s where that connection comes from.
Blake is in Melbourne as ESPN has returned to coverage on-site at the first major of the year for the first time in awhile.