Before heading to the 2022 Australian Open Qualifiers, we spent some time with Canadian Pro Tennis Player Brayden Schnur for a quick Q&A about his recent experience representing Canada at the Davis Cup in Madrid.
Q: When did you find out you were going to represent Canada at the Davis Cup in Madrid?
A: I was asked about 6 weeks before.
Q: Did you know that Felix and Dennis weren’t going to play at that point?
A: No the original team was me, Dennis, Felix, Peter and Vasek. Dennis pulled out 7 days later and Felix about 2 weeks before the event.
Q: When they pulled out did you feel more pressure?
A: Not really because I had a feeling they were going to play Vasek ahead of me in singles regardless. I felt a little bit of nerves but also excitement because I knew I would get a chance to play.
Q: Do you feel a different type of pressure when you are playing for the country?
A: There is more pressure playing for your country and playing for all the people supporting the team, trainers, physio and support staff at the event because they are working so hard for you.
Q: Did you have the full 6 weeks to prep for the match? Were you training full time when you were asked?
A: No I didn’t prepare for the full 6 weeks. I was just getting ready for the last swing of events in the year. I was scheduled to play four challengers in a row in the States but decided to give myself a mini break. I then trained really hard for about 12 days in preparation for the event.
Q: How long were you in Madrid before the matches began?
A: As a team we show up pretty early compared to some other nations. We show up about 7 or 8 days before depending on how long the travel was. Frank, the captain, wants everybody there about a week before.
Q: Compared to your normal preparation for an event on the tour, what would the main differences be in your preparation for the first Davis Cup match? Is it more like college where you meet and practice as a team, opposed to being on your own with a coach?
A: I don’t think it’s as much a college team atmosphere. We do some meals together and have locker room chats but the preparation is pretty individual. We go over our opponents, we get video on all of our opponents, and we watch it with the coaches.
Q: When do you find out if you are playing?
A: It depends but usually about 2 days before in a team meeting. Leaving 2 days to prepare.
Q: Specifically in this Davis Cup, what was the fan atmosphere like?
A: Really good. Much better than 2019. I think the stadium was 12-13 thousand capacity and on the days we played it was at least 80% full.
Q: You had said you had food poisoning before the match. Had you experienced that before on tour and how did it play out for you?
A: I did, I got it 4 days before our first match. I have had food poisoning before in India. In Madrid it was the weirdest thing because I got it from a sandwich that I ordered from room service at the hotel and other guys had ordered the same sandwich and were fine with it. I was pretty sick for about 12-13 hours after. I did practice the next day but felt pretty low energy for about 24 hours after that. From there I was good to go. Obviously bummed I didn’t get to play singles in the first tie, but Frank had to make the decision 2 days before and at that time I wasn’t 100%.
Q: Just want to ask a couple of general questions not related to the Davis Cup. You were having a lot of success on tour and then COVID. Can you describe how the pandemic has affected the timeline of your
career and how it’s been preparing to get back on tour?
A: COVID has been really challenging. It really couldn’t have hit at a worse time for me. At the start of the 2020 season I had a lot of points to defend and I wasn’t healthy. I had hurt myself at Davis Cup and I didn’t have an off season because I felt I had to show up and play to defend those points. After I didn’t defend those points and my ranking fell; from there it’s been an uphill battle from the start of the 2021 season. I wasn’t able to return home to Canada without the long quarantine so I was on the road, I didn’t come home for 6 months in a row. Then juggling training locations, I also had a coaching change and it definitely made our lives more challenging. People are trying to navigate testing and rules while going from one county to another and tennis players are trying to do that every 5 to 7 days.
Q: Tell us your top 3 career highlights.
- New York Open 2019
- Few weeks prior to that week making my first final in a $125k challenger. Lost to Fritz in the final but beat a lot of good guys which snowballed my confidence to do so well in New York.
- Qualifying into Rogers Cup. I felt I had a lot to prove. I felt I deserved a main draw wildcard and the wildcards should have been given to Canadians in the qualis. We were all there to prove something. For myself to quali into the main draw that was a great week for me.
Q: What does your early '22 schedule look like?
A: ATP Cup to start with Dennis and Felix. Then the Australian Open Qualifying and if I don’t make it into the main draw then I will return to the states to play in a couple of challengers. Then we head into Indian Wells Miami season. There are a couple of weeks in there but the calendar isn’t complete yet.
Q: For the Australian Open do you know the protocols now?
A: As of today we aren’t under any quarantine and we have to fly out on charters with only tennis players on the flight. I will be going to Sydney for the ATP Cup and then onto Melbourne for the qualis and main draw Open.
Thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us today. We were happy to support you through your Davis Cup campaign and wish you the best of luck and health in 2022.
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