A day after Eugenie Bouchard grabbed her fifth Tennis Canada Female Player of the Year award, Milos Raonic has secured the most important 2018 Excellence Awards, being named the Male Player of the Year and the Singles Player of the Year. Denis Shapovalov stole the Player of the Year away from Milos a year ago but the 27-year-old tops the charts once again in 2018, clinching the honor for the seventh time in the last eight years.
A former world number 3 has been without an ATP title since the start of 2016 but despite the fact he almost dropped out from the top-40 for the first time since February 2011 he did enough to notch 32 wins and reach the final in Stuttgart where he lost to Roger Federer in a tight encounter.
Denis Shapovalov moved ahead of him in the rankings in May to become the Canadian number 1 but Milos did enough to get it back by the end of the year and finish inside the top-20 for the sixth time and receive the national player of the year award.
For the last couple of seasons, Raonic has been struggling with various injuries and he couldn't avoid them in 2018 as well, having to withdraw or retire from Monte Carlo, Rome, Roland Garros and Queen's before withdrawing from the third round encounter with Roger Federer in Paris at the end of the season.
Denis Shapovalov is the Most Improved Player after a stellar run in 2018, winning 35 matches and advancing into three semi-finals in Delray Beach, Madrid and Tokyo. Shapovalov lost all five matches against the rivals from the top-10 but he managed to win impressive 14 Masters 1000 matches, becoming one of the youngest Masters 1000 semi-finalists on clay after a great run in Madrid.
For the second year in a row, Denis is the youngest player in the year-end top-100 and he is in a perfect position to attack the top-20, with just over 300 points to defend in the first four months of 2019. At the age of 46, Daniel Nestor finally decided to end his career in September during the Davis Cup tie against the Netherlands and despite winning just six matches on the Tour in 2018 he has been named the Doubles Player of the Year for the 16th straight year and one last time in his glorious career. In the end, an 18-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime has been named the Junior Player of the Year after finishing just outside the top-100 and as the second-youngest player in the top-200 behind Rudolf Molleker. After missing the action in January due to a knee injury, Felix became the first player born in 2000 with Masters 1000 win and the first who had a chance to compete at Majors, being forced to retire in the opening round of the US Open against Shapovalov due to an irregular heartbeat.
In addition, Auger-Aliassime claimed 24 Challenger wins, winning two titles and becoming the second-youngest player with four Challenger crowns after Richard Gasquet.
“Milos, Denis, Félix and Daniel have all had productive seasons and are very deserving candidates of these awards,” said Michael Downey, President and CEO of Tennis Canada. “Milos notched important victories and made some deep runs this year to help propel himself back into the Top 20.
For his part, Denis, unlike many other players who have had stellar breakthrough years, did not fall into a sophomore slump, but rather continued his impressive progression, improving his ranking from 51 to 27. As for Félix, he continued to make a name for himself on the international scene, setting a few records of his own.
Although we are sad to see Daniel retire from professional tennis, we are glad that he was able to go out on a high note at the Davis Cup in Toronto.”