Raonic, Shapovalov & Felix Celebrate Toronto Raptors NBA Title At Wimbledon

Canadians show national pride before beginning play at The Championships

There’s at least one tennis player who wants Kawhi Leonard to stay with the Toronto Raptors next season.

#NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov made his plea to the NBA superstar at Wimbledon before beginning his campaign at the grass-court major.

“Kawhi, please stay with us. Please don’t leave!” Shapovalov said. “Huge respect for him for coming, giving all he had every single game in the season. It’s unbelievable. He’s going to be a hero in Toronto and in Canada for the rest of his life.”

Shapovalov and his countrymen, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic, gathered for a photo opportunity with Raptors championship gear in London on Saturday, celebrating the team’s NBA Finals victory. It was a proud moment for the Canadians, as the Raptors were the first Canadian team to win an NBA title.

“It’s unbelievable, I think, for the city and the country. Just what they did, it goes beyond basketball. They brought the whole country together watching as one. It’s unbelievable for Toronto, I’m super happy,” Shapovalov said. “I want to say congrats to all the guys. They put in a lot of work over the years, a lot of effort.”

The Canadian stars will now begin chasing a title of their own at The Championships. Shapovalov, the 2016 Wimbledon boys’ singles champion, will play Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in the first round. The lefty has shown flashes of brilliance this year, reaching his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Miami.

One year ago, Auger-Aliassime did not compete at Wimbledon, and his ATP Ranking was No. 152. But now at a career-high No. 21, the 18-year-old will try to make his mark on his SW19 debut. Auger-Aliassime opens against compatriot Vasek Pospisil, and he is a potential fourth-round opponent for defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic.

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Raonic has long enjoyed success at The All England Club, making the final in 2016. The former World No. 3 has advanced to at least the quarter-finals on the historic grass in four of the past five years.