Future serves Canada well

WES GILBERTSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

These days, Vasek Pospisil's eyes are about the same size as the tennis balls he's trying to keep them fixed on.

Pospisil is riding shotgun for this weekend's Davis Cup tie against Mexico at the Corral, tagging along behind the likes of Daniel Nestor and Frederic Niemeyer -- the savvy veterans he's gunning to succeed as Canada's representatives on the world stage.

"It's just a great boost, seeing the whole environment and what playing for Canada means to everybody," said Pospisil, 17. "It really is pushing my game. I want to work hard and eventually play for Canada, play on the team."

By the time the real action kicks off tomorrow in Calgary, Pospisil's job will be pretty much done. He earned an invite to Cowtown to serve as a so-called "hitting partner" for Nestor, Niemeyer and the rest of the Canadian gang.

The job description includes "a little bit of everything." If one of the top guns wants to work on his returns, Pospisil hits the serves. If somebody wants to play a set, the kid from Vancouver provides the opposition.

Prior to hitting the practice court Tuesday, Pospisil was pleased to report his chore list had been limited to on-court errands, but he wasn't ruling anything out.

He might also be able to provide a bit of insight on Mexico. He and Cesar Ramirez, the youngest of five players captain Oscar Ortiz brought north, comprise one of the world's top junior doubles squads.

The tandem advanced to the finals at the Australian Junior Open, losing a heartbreaker to a duo from Chinese Taipei.

Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau will finalize his roster at a press conference today, but the announcement is a mere formality. Nestor, the winningest Davis Cup competitor in Canadian history, will join Niemeyer, Frank Dancevic and Peter Polanksy in Canada's corner.

That's fine by Pospisil.

"It's a really good feeling. I know I'm not going to play, so I'm not going to be really representing Canada, but just to be on the Canadian team is an honour," he said.

Serving as a Davis Cup hitting partner is a right of passage for Canada's rising tennis talents.

Dancevic and Polansky both shagged balls before being named to the team, while Nestor's stint as a hitting partner ended abruptly when one of the vets was felled by injury and he was called upon as an emergency fill-in.

Pospisil is content spending his weekend "on the sidelines cheering for them, hoping we come out with a victory."

In the meantime, he's also trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible.

"Everybody is giving me really useful tips, and it's just a really good learning experience for me to be around the best players in Canada. (Laurendeau) has been helping me a lot on my game, giving me really good tips, so I'm going to try to take that back, along with the other tips I got from the players, and work on my game"

Dancevic, Canada's top-ranked singles player, figures Pospisil is on the right track.

"He's a great kid. I think he's got a great future ahead of him. He's the future of Canadian tennis," Dancevic said. "He'll be playing Davis Cup in the near future. It's great to have guys like that around. He brings great team spirit."


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