Canada's drought-breaking Davis Cup triumph has been plagued by drama after the national broadcaster's feed was cut just moments before the final point. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov were too good for Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis as Canada beat Australia 2-0 in Sunday's final.
Kokkinakis was first put to the sword by Shapovalov before de Minaur got shredded 6-3 6-4 by Auger-Aliassime as Canada lifted the men's World Cup of tennis for the first time in the competition's 122-year history. Australia's wait for a 29th Davis Cup title will stretch into a 20th year after Lleyton Hewitt's men fell agonisingly short.
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Canada's triumph comes after 122 years of heartbreak and gave fans something to cheer about on the same day their football side was eliminated from the FIFA World Cup. However viewers in Canada were left raging when technical difficulties with broadcaster Sportsnet meant many missed the final point.
"Would’ve been nice to have been able to see this live. Thanks for nothing Sportsnet, you’re such a disappointing failure," one fan wrote on Twitter. Another added: "Absolutely amazing success. But also an amazing failure by the broadcaster to deprive all of Canada of seeing the victory. What a disservice to our team!"
A third commented: "What awful timing for Sportsnet to have satellite trouble, just as Canada is on the verge of a huge Davis Cup win. This is the lowest point in Sportsnet history."
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Seven years after leading Canada to the top of junior tennis, Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and their teammates finally got to lift the biggest team trophy in their sport. “We wanted to grow up and be part of the team and try to help the country win the first title,” Shapovalov said. "So everything is just so surreal right now.”
Auger-Aliassime said: "It's a dream come true. "It's a special team. Hopefully, this generation will be able to bring this very far."
Hewitt summed up the mood in the Australian camp, saying: "I'm gutted for the boys. They've put in the commitment and the work and done absolutely everything right all year.
"They left it all out there once again. We came up slightly short, but I couldn't be prouder - and all of Australia should be proud."
After a dejected Kokkinakis was left scolding himself for being "pretty much useless" in his 6-2 6-4 shredding by an inspired Shapovalov, the never-say-die Australian No.1 de Minaur knew he'd need a potentially career-defining win over Auger-Aliassime.
But de Minaur was a picture of misery after the world No.6's relentless power eventually overwhelmed his defence. "It's tough, but so many Australian Davis Cup players have followed our journey throughout the whole year every step and were riding this roller coaster with us. It just shows what a family this Australian Davis Cup team is," said Spanish-based de Minaur, whose family turned out to cheer him on.
“Look, I think we were very close today,” de Minaur said. “Just wait until the next time we get the same matchup. Hopefully we can get the win and prove that we can do it.”
However Canada will be tough to beat as long as Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov are around. Shapovalov is just 23 and Auger-Aliassime 22, but both have already reached grand slam semi-finalis and Auger-Aliassime ended 2022 as one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour. He won all of his four titles this year, including three straight weeks in October.
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