Canadian tennis player Gabriela Dabrowski is a perennial challenger in doubles

Published May 29, 2023 2:10 PM ET

Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada, right, and Leylah Fernandez celebrate after defeating Kirsten Flipkens and Greet Minnen of Belgium during the Billie Jean King Cup qualifying doubles match, in Vancouver, on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Canada won three out of five matches to win qualifiers draw and advance to the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup final. CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A decisive double win in qualifying for the Billie Jean King Cup last month helped Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski bring “a pretty good level” into her tournament ahead of the French Open.

Now she hopes to build on that in the tennis season’s second Grand Slam.

Dabrowski, ranked 18th in the world in doubles, will partner Brazilian Luisa Stefani as the eighth seed in the women’s competition and American Nathaniel Lammons in mixed doubles at Roland Garros.

“I’m someone who always wants to grow and improve in whatever small way I can with my game,” he said from Paris. “So I’m always looking for ways I can be better in every part of the court and in everything.”

Dabrowski has been a force in the doubles scene since his breakout season in 2017. He won his first Grand Slam title at that year’s French Open alongside India’s Rohan Bopanna.

He won the Australian Open mixed title in 2018 with Croatian Mate Pavic, one of 13 career doubles titles on his resume.

Last month in Vancouver, the five-foot-10 Ottawa native teamed up with Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., for a 6-1, 6-2 win over Belgians Kirsten Flipkens and Greet Minnen.

The result gave Canada a 3-2 win and a place in this November’s 12-team finals in Seville, Spain.

Fernandez has also stepped up his doubles game this season. She has reached two doubles finals in 2023 and has moved up her ranking to 36th.

“He has a very impressive attitude on the court no matter what the score is,” Dabrowski told The Canadian Press. “He always gives 100 per cent. He’s not easily intimidated.

“He’s going to go against anyone on the court in singles or doubles and I like that about him. He’s a very fast learner.”

Dabrowski, 31, has played in various pairs in recent seasons. She reached the last 16 alongside Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos at the Australian Open and started playing with Stefani at Indian Wells in March.

“He’s a great natural doubles player because he moves so well at the net,” said longtime tennis announcer and former Canada Davis Cup coach Robert Bettauer. “He had a really smart double serve, did it deep, prepared for the volley. Very good return on serve.

“In doubles, it’s not power, it’s precision, and he has it. It’s his movement at the net. He’s just an amazing net player.”

Feranadez and American Taylor Townsend, the 10th seed at Roland Garros, open against Bethanie Mattek-Sands of America and Sara Errani of Italy, while Rebecca Marino of Vancouver teams up with Zhu Lin of China for their first-round clash against the Chinese tandem of the No. 11 from Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 29, 2023.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

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