Thursday, April 18, 2024

Champion Gabriel Diallo in front of his fans at the Granby Challenger

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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20-year-old Montrealer defeated China’s Juncheng Shang in sets 7-5, 7-6 (7/5).

Invited by the Canadian Tennis Club for the tournament, Diallo had never qualified for the quarter-finals of the Challenger event the week before his dream at Estre. He became the first male athlete from Quebec to win the championship.

The champ needed 2 hours and 5 minutes to knock down Granby’s sixth seed, thanks to harvesting 10 aces.

Prior to crossing the racket with Diallo, Shang had not lost a single set in four matches in this competition.

Two weeks ago, during qualifying for the National Open in Montreal, a University of Kentucky student caused a surprise by defeating Australian James Duckworth, then 59th world wide, in the first round.

Then he was forced to retire due to heatstroke he suffered during a duel against Frenchman Hugo Gaston.

His victory at the Granby would make him take a huge leap in the ATP rankings. From the 519th position, it will be 335th in the next posting of the ranking.

An example of patience according to Sam Eliassim

A few hundred kilometers from Granby, New York, Sam Alesim rejoices at the successes of the 20-year-old whom he considers like his son.

At the age of 14, Diallo joined the academy of Félix Auger-Aliassime’s father in Quebec.

In an interview with Radio Canada Sports, Eliassim said the Canadian Tennis Club did not keep him on their program because they felt he had no potential. I really believed in him, so we gave him a chance to come and develop here. This is the story of Gabriel. I have always believed that children should not be judged too early.

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In recent years, Sam Eliassim has taken him under his wing and made him travel. Three or four years ago, Diallo accompanied his coach to watch Felix play at Indian Wells.

I wanted him to understand what a high level is, explains origin Togo. Suddenly, he returned to Quebec, changing his perception of the game and his unit on the field. It’s such a small detail that allows players to evolve alongside high-ranking players.

For Sam Eliassim, Diallo’s success proves that patience is golden.

It is an example to make young people and coaches understand that player development is long-term. We have to be patient and not throw in the towel as Tennis Canada did in her case and we have to keep investing and giving time to the youth. We never know. »

Quote from Sam Ellysim

However, this victory, despite its importance, should not deviate the young man from his path.

I recommend a lot of caution to Gabriel because he is still young and still has a lot of work to do. You can get lost very quickly. When such victories happen, there are wolves running around and everyone takes the credit. Now is the time to make the right decision.

Sam Aliassime dreams of seeing Gabriel Diallo and Félix one day be part of the same Canadian team in the Davis Cup.

I always told Gabriel I would have tears in my eyes when I went to see them together, he trusts. It would make two guys who grew up with me and represent their country.

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But, as Sam Eliassim himself says, there is still a very long way to go.

With information from Antoine Deschais and the Canadian press

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