Of the five Canadians in the qualifications draw of the Rogers Cup, only one made it to the final round: Brayden Schnur. The 20-year-old from Pickering, who had also caused a nice surprise last year by qualifying for the main draw, came back from a break down in the first set to defeat Ruben Bemelmans (ATP N°98) 6-4, 6-3.
A great joy indeed for the world N°583, but most importantly, one which gives him a huge confidence boost.
“Of course it gives me confidence, there’s no words for it”, said Schnur after the match. “Playing this tournament gives me the chance to play against the best guys, and to win gives me the confidence to know that I can play at that level. And the level I can play is obviously very good. So it’s good to see.”
Was he feeling any nerves at the start of the match? Not really. As he said, “I’ve got nothing to lose, right?”
This quiet confidence is a trait which he is carrying with him onto court. And as far as experience goes, Schnur learned a lot from what he had achieved a year ago, in Toronto. “Last year helped a lot”, he declared. “It gives me the confidence and the mental side of it helps a lot, knowing that I can be with these players and beat them. Last year, I played main draw against [Andreas] Seppi. I felt I had opportunities. Coming off that loss, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my game, and I put that into perspective this year. Just going on court, relax, and I don’t need to rush anything. I just need to play my game, and I’ll be there no matter what.”
How much does it help him to practise with other young players, as he has done earlier this week with Borna Coric? Schnur does not hesitate: “It’s good.” And he adds, “I’ve known Coric since the Juniors, I’ve played him a few times, and the guys I practise with here also. There’s a bunch of guys my age playing and doing well. The younger guys are starting to fall on top a little bit. It definitely helps to play against them and see where their level’s at. I really don’t feel like there’s much difference between my game and theirs. If I can manage to stay calm in the matches, who knows where this will take me?”
But when all is said and done, one thing remains important for the Canadian, who has cumulated a 19-5 record in the NCAA (University of North Carolina) in 2013-14: enjoying the game. “The biggest thing for me is to have fun on court and just enjoy the moment.”
There is no better way to say it.