Daniel Nestor’s memorable performances on the tennis court, helped grow the sport across Canada to another generation adding some new fans along the way.
If you’re a fan of Canadian tennis, you’ll know all about Nestor’s on-court achievements over the course of his 27 years on tour. He is a 12-time Grand Slam champion, Olympic gold medalist, and the source of inspiration for countless Canadians who have picked up a racquet and taken up the sport. Nestor is a true icon of tennis in Canada.
Growing up, he enjoyed watching tennis on TV. When he still wasn’t old enough to participate with his dad and brother on the recreational tennis courts, Nestor would begin to work on his game by hitting a tennis ball off the wall at a local school.
When he wasn’t practicing and developing his game, Nestor enjoyed watching the major tournaments like the US Open and Wimbledon on TV.
Nestor joked that even though he had a polar opposite personality of his childhood hero, he was always attracted to watching Jimmy Connor tennis matches on TV.
“Jimmy was always a little more flamboyant and I always enjoyed watching how the crowd would go wild while cheering him on, especially during those US Open matches,” Nestor said. “Honestly, I always found it entertaining to watch and must-see TV when his matches were televised.”
Nestor became a household name after a Davis Cup win in Vancouver in 1992. At the age of 19, and ranked 238th in the world, he shockingly defeated the number 1 player in the world – Stefan Edberg. His career rose to new heights after his upset victory.
“Initially, when I was only 19 years-old defeating the number one player in the world Stefan Edberg, was a very big accomplishment,” Nestor said. “That got me a little bit of notoriety from that, but it also put a little bit of pressure on me. I felt it was hard to duplicate that performance and meet people’s expectations over the years.”
Later in his career, Nestor was cognizant that his game was better suited for doubles as opposed to trying to compete at a high level in both singles and doubles matches.
“When I was slowing down in singles competition I wanted to focus more on competing in doubles matches,” Nestor said. “Trying to compete in both was taxing on the body. I began to recognize that I was better at doubles matches and my overall game was suited for doubles competition. My skillset was hitting the ball hard and I was good at going to the net and also looking for ways to get quicker points. All of these qualities were more suited for doubles matches.”
Nestor became the first doubles player in ATP history to win 1000 matches. He was continuously ranked in the top 100 in doubles from April 1994 to April 2018, a total of 1,134 consecutive weeks.
His 91 men’s doubles titles make him the third-most decorated champion among doubles players. He was the first player in doubles tennis history to win every Grand Slam and Masters Series event, the Year End Championships and Olympic gold medal at least once in his career, an achievement that has since been matched by the Bryan brothers.
He was named ATP Doubles Team of the Year in 2002 and 2004 (with Mark Knowles) and 2008 (with Nenad Zimonjić). He became the world No. 1 ranked doubles player in the world in August 2002. Nestor’s career-high singles ranking was world No. 58, which he reached in August 1999.
Nestor was appointed to the Order of Canada in November 2010. On June 28, 2011, it was announced that Nestor would receive a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and was inducted on October 1 at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.