With a wildcard from tournament organizers, Canadian Philip Bester will enter the main draw of the Rogers Cup. But his road to Montréal hasn’t been an easy one.
From 2011 to early 2014, the 26-year-old was sidelined with hand, ankle and hip injuries. He underwent several operations, plummeted in the rankings, lost his sponsors and had trouble making ends meet but never gave up.
“In 2011 at Davis Cup, with a broken hand, I won the decisive match against Ecuador to take Canada to a World Group playoff,” explained Bester on Friday at STADE IGA. “I had an MRI as soon as I got home. Then I didn’t play for nine months.”
“When I got back to the game, I played for a few months and then injured my ankle and then my hip, which required surgery.”
For the British Columbian, the fall was brutal.
“I lost all of my sponsors and had to organize a fundraising campaign in June 2014 right before my first tournament after hip surgery,” he explained. “I had no money to travel.”
“I hit rock bottom a few times but here I am today.”
Back on the courts
Active since last summer, Bester has been on a roll on the Challenger circuit. At the start of the year, he was ranked no.490 in the world.
With wins in Italy and the Toronto suburb of Richmond and appearances in the finals in Granby and Gatineau, he climbed to no.225 on the ATP Tour—the highest ranking he’s ever held. He is currently no.228 and is the third-best Canadian player behind Milos Raonic (no.10) and Vasek Pospisil (no.49).
But more importantly, he’s got a wildcard into the main draw of the Rogers Cup in hand.
“I was ready to play in the qualifiers or the main draw,” said Bester. “I’m just happy that my efforts—and not just my most recent results—were recognized. I’m very excited.”
And it’s also been confirmed that Bester will play in the qualifying rounds of the US Open in a few weeks.
To top it off, Bester was invited to hit with world no.1 Novak Djokovic on Friday evening. The Canadian had originally planned to take it easy.
“There was no way I could say no,” he said. “I’m going to make the most of it but I also have to focus on what I need to improve.”