Canada's Vasek Pospisil returns a shot to Italy's Jannik Sinner, during the final match of the 2020 Sofia Open ATP 250 tennis tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on November 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo

Fresh off winning ATP comeback player of year award, Vasek Pospisil is aiming higher

Fresh off winning ATP comeback player of year award, Vasek Pospisil is aiming higher

Playing pain-free tennis has Canada’s Vasek Pospisil thinking about what might be possible on the ATP Tour’s singles scene. A refreshed mindset and solid results have helped build his confidence too.

Since undergoing successful back surgery in 2019, Pospisil has displayed the form that saw him crack the top 25 earlier in his career. He recently won the Tour’s comeback player of the year award and is aiming higher for 2021 as he prepares for the Australian swing.

“I feel like every week I’m a better player than I was the week before,” Pospisil said. “I feel like the rate of my improvement the last 12 months has been maybe at a faster rate than ever in my career.”

The 30-year-old Pospisil first started to break through in 2013 when he reached semifinals in Montreal and Basel. By early 2014, he had risen to No. 25 in the world rankings.

Pospisil won a Wimbledon doubles title that summer and made his first Tour final appearance in Washington. However, back woes also became a problem that year.

Somewhat compromised physically, Pospisil had a few mediocre seasons before the back issues finally became too much in late 2018.

Pospisil decided on surgery to repair a herniated disc and missed over half the 2019 season. He came back at Wimbledon but didn’t feel like himself on court until playing in Shanghai that fall.

“That was when I felt like, ‘Wow, OK I’m back playing really great tennis,’” he said in a recent interview. “I think Davis Cup (afterwards) just kind of confirmed it and gave me that little bit of extra confidence, that confirmation that showed the consistency of my level of play.”

Ranked 148th at the start of last year, Pospisil climbed to No. 61 by season’s end.

The Vancouver right-hander reached the final at the Open Sud de France before the pandemic started, and matched the feat in November at the Sofia Open in Bulgaria.

“I think a lot of that goes to just feeling really healthy on the court, working with a great team right now, and also just having a different perspective on life and the sport,” he said from Bradenton, Fla. “I’m much more relaxed so I think I’m able to process information better.

“I just feel like I’m playing the best tennis of my career right now.”

In preparation for the 2021 campaign, Pospisil recently spent a couple weeks training with good friend and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Belgrade. Pospisil was originally in the field at this week’s Delray Beach Open but instead will shift focus to playing Down Under.

The Australian Open is set to begin Feb. 8 at Melbourne.

“I’m not setting any limits for myself,” Pospisil said. “I feel like anything can happen. If I stay healthy and if I can stay fresh mentally and keep improving at the rate that I’m improving, then who knows? I think I can definitely achieve a higher ranking than my previous career high of No. 25.

“That’s in the back of my mind as something I would still like to do. But I’m still just enjoying the process. I’m trying to do the best I can.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Town of Ponoka and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) have ratified a new agreement, averting a strike. (File photo from Facebook)
Alberta gov’t ‘using pandemic as shield to lay off workers,’ says AUPE

The Government of Alberta’s “attacks on workers” is continuing with a new… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP, EMS, Search and Rescue, STARS air ambulance and Alstrom Helicopters worked together to rescue a fallen ice climber Friday. (Photo contributed by Rocky Mountain House RCMP)
Rocky Mountain House RCMP help rescue fallen ice climber

Rocky Mountain RCMP helped assist a fallen ice climber Friday afternoon. At… Continue reading

Students Association of Red Deer College president Brittany Lausen says she’s pleased the college is offering students a choice to attend class in-person or remotely. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Red Deer College winter term enrolment dips

Enrolment down about six per cent but mix of online and in-person instruction is going over well

Brett Salomons, of Salomons Commercial, and Mark Jones, CEO of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, in the CACAC's new temporary home. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s One Day Challenge returns

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre has announced its One Day Challenge is… Continue reading

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Body of worker whose bulldozer fell through ice on inactive tailings pond recovered

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Oilpatch giant Suncor says the body of a… Continue reading

A restaurant manager in Orlando used a sign to secretly ask an 11-year-old boy if he needs help from his family after they were spotted withholding food from him. (Photo courtesy Orlando Police Department)
WATCH: Restaurant manager uses secret note to ‘rescue’ child, says Orlando Police

The manager of an Orlando restaurant is receiving praise from police after… Continue reading

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will cripple struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

VICTORIA — A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Quebec and Ontario, the two provinces hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,… Continue reading

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. A young snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged mountain trail on Vancouver's north shore Thursday has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snowshoer dies after overnight search on Vancouver-area mountain: RCMP

SQUAMISH, B.C. — A snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged… Continue reading

‘It was joyous:’ Sun returns to some Nunavut communities for first time in weeks

IQALUIT — A sliver of orange rose over Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, earlier… Continue reading

People take photos through the extensive security surrounding the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
Less pomp, very different circumstances as D.C. prepares to inaugurate Biden, Harris

WASHINGTON — Some pomp. Very different circumstances. Inauguration day is supposed to… Continue reading

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) and Nikolaj Ehlers (27) defend against Jansen Harkins (12) during scrimmage at their NHL training camp practice in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Winnipeg Jets cancel practice due to possible COVID-19 exposure

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets have cancelled their practice today due to… Continue reading

Most Read