Daniel Nestor: Still awesome after all these years
January 31, 1992. A scrawny 19-year-old kid named Daniel Nestor, ranked 238th in the world, defeated Sweden’s Stefan Edberg, the world number one, in the Davis Cup World Group First Round tie in Vancouver, 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Canada may have gone on to lose the tie 3-2, but for a couple of decades, Nestor’s victory was the single greatest non-Olympic moment in Canadian tennis history and the start of a truly great career. Even Edberg agrees:
Now 42, Nestor is the wily veteran of the ATP World Tour, known more for his positioning and shot placement than his power. As a doubles player, he doesn’t get near the attention that someone with his credentials would receive on the singles side of the game. But Nestor’s numbers speak for themselves:
968 career doubles wins (most in ATP history)
87 tour titles (third-most amongst men’s doubles players)
8 Grand Slam titles
5 Olympic Games
1 Olympic gold medal
He’s got the Golden Slam on his resumé, winning all four majors as well as the Olympics.
A former world number one, Nestor is still a top-five ranked player after 24 years as a professional.
The longevity has allowed Nestor to endure through the lows and enjoy the recent highs of the Canadian Davis Cup team, highlighted by a World Group semifinal appearance in 2013.
This weekend, once again in Vancouver, Nestor will play in his 48th Davis Cup tie as the Canadian team (also featuring Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil and Frank Dancevic) takes on Japan in the first round of World Group play. That’s more than twice the number of appearances of any other Canadian player. Raonic was just over a year old when Nestor beat Edberg! He’s now got 46 total wins (31 doubles, 15 singles).
Pospisil is now entrenched as his Davis Cup partner, but on the ATP stage, Nestor has played with more than 30 different men over the years. He has found continued success with a select few. He played 14 years with Mark Knowles, winning three majors (2002 Australian Open, 2004 US Open, 2007 French Open). Teamed with Nenad Zimonjic 2008-10 and 2014, the pair won back-to-back Wimbledon titles in 2008-09 and the French Open in 2010. He reclaimed the title at Roland Garros in 2011 and 2012 with Max Mirnyi. Following his most recent break-up with Zimonjic, Nestor’s new partner for 2015 is hard-serving Indian Rohan Bopanna and the two have already won their first title together at the Sydney Open.
Nestor was the first Canadian to ever earn more than $1 million in an ATP season. He was the ATP Doubles Player of the Year in 2002 and 2004 (with Knowles) as well as 2008 (with Zimonjic).
In 2011 he was honoured as a member of the Order of Canada and received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto.
With no sign of retirement in sight, he may just be #NestorForever.
Olympic.ca will be on hand at Vancouver’s Doug Mitchell Thurderbird Sports Centre with live updates on Facebook at the conclusion of each match. The tie will also be broadcast live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.