Nestor ends Davis Cup ca­reer with loss to the Nether­lands

Times Colonist - - Sports -

TORONTO — The fi­nal match of Daniel Nestor’s Davis Cup ca­reer did not go as planned.

Nestor and part­ner Vasek Pospisil suf­fered a four-set loss to Matwe Mid­delkoop and JeanJulien Ro­jer of the Nether­lands on Satur­day af­ter­noon as Canada dropped to a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup tie. The 46-year-old Nestor was in the in­ter­na­tional ten­nis com­pe­ti­tion for 25 years, play­ing in 53 Davis Cup ties, more than dou­ble that of any other Cana­dian.

“I wanted to play one more season and this match was one of the most im­por­tant of the year for me and, ob­vi­ously, I wanted to play bet­ter,” said a vis­i­bly dis­ap­pointed Nestor. “I pre­pared pretty well for it and I was play­ing well in prac­tice, but my level’s just not good enough any­more.”

Nestor and Pospisil lost to the Dutch duo 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6 in front of a par­ti­san crowd at Co­caCola Coli­seum on the Ex­hi­bi­tion Place grounds of Nestor’s home­town of Toronto.

“When it was an­nounced that we were play­ing in Septem­ber in Toronto I was re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,” said Nestor. “I wanted to win this match. The other tour­na­ments I went to, play­ing th­ese events one last time was fun, hav­ing my fam­ily with me, but this match was im­por­tant for me, but I’m just not good enough any­more.”

Canada earned wins from Mi­los Raonic of Thorn­hill, Ont., and Denis Shapo­valov of Rich­mond Hill, Ont., Fri­day night in the first and sec­ond sin­gles rub­bers. The sin­gles matchups will flip to­day, with Raonic play­ing Robin Haase in the fourth rub­ber and Shapo­valov will take on Thiemo de Bakker, if nec­es­sary.

“We’re in a good po­si­tion, the guys gave their hearts out there to­day and we ended up go­ing down, but that’s the na­ture of Davis Cup com­pe­ti­tion,” said cap­tain Frank Dance­vic, who pointed out that Raonic had a short three­set vic­tory on Fri­day while his op­po­nent Haase had a lengthy five-set loss to Shapo­valov the same night.

“It’s good, it’s an ad­van­tage for us. We’re go­ing to go out there and get the busi­ness done.”

Fans around Coca-Cola Coli­seum wore red and white, waved Cana­dian flags and banged drums dur­ing stop­pages in play. The crowd was more se­date than Fri­day night when the chair um­pire had to threaten some fans with ejec­tion in the fourth set of Shapo­valov’s come­back vic­tory over Haase.

Af­ter the match, Nestor ad­dressed the crowd, thank­ing them for their sup­port over the decades. He will be in­ducted into Canada’s Ten­nis Hall of Fame in a pub­lic cer­e­mony be­fore Raonic’s match with Haase to­day.

“I con­sider him one of my re­ally good friends, so it’s tough to see him go,” said Pospisil. “Hon­estly, it was an hon­our to be on the court with him. I re­ally wanted to win this with him in his last match.

“It’s been a pretty fun ride play­ing with Daniel over the years and I’ll be sad to see him go.”

Nestor’s skill in dou­bles com­pe­ti­tion has made him in­valu­able to Canada over the past quar­ter cen­tury, al­most guar­an­tee­ing them a win on the sec­ond day of the three-day, five-match Davis Cup draws. He has a team-best 33-13 dou­bles record and was 1515 in sin­gles rub­bers.

He won eight Grand Slam dou­bles ti­tles over his lengthy ATP Tour ca­reer with a va­ri­ety of part­ners and won gold for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Se­bastien Lareau. He and Pospisil fin­ished fourth in the 2016 Rio Games. In 2002, Nestor peaked as the top dou­bles player in the world.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Canada’s Daniel Nestor re­turns a shot from the team of Matwe Mid­delkoop and Jean-Julien Ro­jer, of the Nether­lands, in Davis Cup ten­nis ac­tion in Toronto on Satur­day.

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