Join Date: May 2007
TORONTO, July 16 /CNW/ -- Evian(R) Natural Spring Water, the world's leading premium spring water, today announced that Canada's top singles player, Frank Dancevic has signed an exclusive worldwide endorsement deal with Evian.And a few pictures from Newport.
"We're thrilled to have Frank on board as a spokesperson for Evian," said Jeff Caswell, Vice President of Marketing for Evian North America. "Frank's natural abilities, accomplishments and dedication to the sport of tennis have distinguished him as one of Canada's top athletes. We look forward to our relationship with Frank and our continued commitment to the sport of tennis."
"I'm very proud to represent the Evian brand in Canada," said Dancevic. "Throughout my career, I've witnessed Evian's longstanding commitment to athletes and the sport of tennis. I look forward to working with Evian on various initiatives to build awareness around the sport of tennis, at all levels, throughout the world."
Evian's partnership with Dancevic will include branding on his tennis attire and towel as well as exclusive use of Evian products, all of which will further Evian's visibility during professional tennis tournaments. The deal also includes Evian tennis merchandise personally signed by Dancevic to be given away to fans and consumers.
The glam life: Little cash, but lots of hopeBest of luck against Mario!!
There may be a glamorous life for tennis players, but Canada's best has yet to enjoy it.
Niagara Falls native Frank Dancevic, the world's 83rd-ranked singles player, is a working pro. He travels the world, tournament to tournament, looking to accrue ATP ranking points and stay financially afloat. In between, he worries about keeping healthy while still trying to improve his game. There are no baggage handlers and entourages along the way.
"Let me give you an example," Dancevic, 23, said last week from Indiana, where he had just been knocked out of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships. "We were supposed to fly in Saturday. But there was a storm that went through. We were on the runway for four hours. Eventually, our flight got cancelled. I was at the airport for 15 hours. I had to fly into Cincinnati, then drive over here. I got in late last night. I practised for an hour and then I had to play today."
That hour was the first he'd spent on a hard court in over a month after working Europe's grass-court circuit. The results were predictable.
Dancevic came out swinging, winning the first set 7-6 in a tiebreak against American Bobby Reynolds. But lack of practice came back to bite in the second and third. He went down 6-3 and 6-2.
Even among the elite, it can be a grind. Added to that pressure is the tag Dancevic wears as Canada's great tennis hope.
"He has the potential to beat almost anybody. He has a shot at being a top-20 player," said Debbie Kirkwood, Tennis Canada's director of high performance, who has watched Dancevic over his entire career. Considering no Canadian man has ever cracked the top 40, that would be a feat.
Dancevic was turned on to the game by his father, John, an immigrant whose own preference was soccer.
Geography played a big part in the choice. The Dancevics grew up only a stone's throw from a tennis club. John Dancevic wasn't terribly familiar with tennis, but he could see that his son was good.
As his game improved, Dancevic gave up other sports to focus entirely on the court. At 15, his American coach took him south to audition for the U.S. Tennis Association. After a practice match against a U.S. pro, Dancevic was asked to sign up for Uncle Sam. John Dancevic sought a transfer to Michigan from his employer, General Motors. But Frank refused.
"He said, `I'm Canadian. I'm staying here,'" John Dancevic recalled.
"It was in my best interests to go there," Frank said. "But I chose to stay here because I love Canada. I wanted to play Davis Cup for Canada."
At 17, in his first ATP tournament, he took out Russian standout Nikolay Davydenko.
"That was the moment when I thought, `It happened,'" John Dancevic said. The reedy kid from Niagara Falls had announced himself as a young man to be watched.
His biggest professional breakthrough came in Indianapolis last year. He reached the final, a first for a Canadian at an ATP event in nearly a decade. En route, he defeated former world No.1 Andy Roddick. He later made similar inroads at the Rogers Cup event held in Montreal, reaching the quarters. He stretched Rafael Nadal to three sets in that match.
"All of last year, he was dancing around multiple wins over top-20 players. They just didn't happen," Kirkwood said. "But it's there."
Canada's most decorated veteran, doubles specialist Daniel Nestor, has said that tennis won't break into the Canadian sports consciousness until one of our singles players goes into the late rounds of a Grand Slam event. Then he tapped Dancevic to do it.
But from the sound of it, Dancevic is treading water at the moment.
A back injury felled him hard to start the year. Dancevic's world ranking plummeted. He struggled to rediscover his form.
"You're never guaranteed to make a living at this," Dancevic said. "Even now, I'm ranked in the top 80 and I was injured for four months. I know what it feels like to be wondering what's going to happen in the future."
He split with his coach, former Canadian pro and current coach of Canada's Davis Cup team, Martin Laurendeau. He's been working for three months with French coach Boris Vallejo.
He began clawing his way back up tennis's hill. Despite a nagging wrist injury, he notched a huge straight-sets upset over former Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian in the first round at the All-England Club.
Afterward, he called it "one of the best matches in my career – if not the best." In his next match, he lost to 106th-ranked Bobby Reynolds – the same Reynolds from Indiana.
That has been Dancevic's reputation thus far – as a giant killer. There are a few of those around the men's game.
"Strange things happen," Dancevic said. "There's not really much difference on a given day between a guy who's ranked 100 and a guy who's ranked 20. If the guy who's higher ranked is just a little off and the guy who's ranked 100 is having a good day, then there's an upset."
So what separates the players who can win on a given day and the ones who do it reliably?
"They keep their bodies healthy. They're able to sustain their level the whole year. That's what keeps them up there. Mentally, they're strong," Dancevic said.
"There are plenty of guys who should be top 20 – guys who are ranked in the 90s or below right now – but their bodies just can't keep up with it."
The silver lining of the Indianapolis loss is that Dancevic can return home early. He's back in Niagara Falls right now, commuting to Toronto to practice. After being granted a wild-card entry, Dancevic will be the most watched Canadian in the Rogers Cup. He said he arrives completely healthy for the first time in a long time.
But Dancevic drew a tough first-round matchup with No. 24-ranked Croatian Mario Ancic. If he goes through, he could face defending champion Novak Djokovic
"Playing at home is my favourite thing in the world," Dancevic said. "Last year in Montreal I had a great run in front of an unbelievable crowd. It's great to play in a tournament and feel completely at home."
That long climb into tennis's elite – the one so many in and around the Canadian game expect Dancevic to make – starts again tomorrow.
"I think that I'm coming into my prime," Dancevic said as he signed off. "It's time for things to start happening in my career."