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Milos Raonic hits a return to Ivo Karlovic during the second round of the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. Karlovic defeated Raonic 7-6, 7-6.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Success begets higher expectations, and therein lies the problem.

Only a cursory consideration of this country's tennis history is required to understand we are witnesses to a special, unprecedented era for Canadian players.

But after an ascendant 2013 and a record-setting 2014 – Grand Slam semis and finals, top-five rankings, Davis Cup and Fed Cup world groups – the provisional report card through seven months of 2015 suggests the golden generation's once-inexorable advance has largely stalled.

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That was particularly evident at this week's Rogers Cup. Doubles greybeard Daniel Nestor toils on, as do a pair of ladies' tandems, but in singles, Canadians played 22 matches this week if you take the qualifying rounds into account. They won two of them.

Injury niggles don't diminish Milos Raonic and 2015 Wimbledon quarter-finalist Vasek Pospisil as gilt-edged prospects, and Eugenie Bouchard should at some point remember how to play well. So this is less a judgment of the players' quality or potential than it is a statement of fact: Progress isn't linear; there are cycles to this sport.

And building dynasties is hard, painstaking work.

"Of course it's disappointing – we're aiming for strong results, and you can't be happy with no one getting out of the second round," said Louis Borfiga, head of Tennis Canada's high-performance program. "But you can't just analyze results in the short term: You have to look at it year over year, not tournament by tournament."

As he talked, a smiling Raonic wandered by with an armful of rackets and stopped to offer a handshake.

"Take Milos," Borfiga said after Raonic headed down the hall to the players' locker room. "If he and Vasek and Eugenie have great results in Cincinnati [next week], we'll be talking about that and how it sets up the U.S. Open."

The leading lights doubtless have brighter days ahead of them, and there's evidence of depth in the next wave of Canadian talent. Françoise Abanda, 18, stretched Andrea Petkovic, the 16th-ranked woman in the world, to three sets in her first-round match. Filip Peliwo, a 21-year-old who regressed after his first pro season, also showed signs here of a maturing game in a three-set loss to Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky.

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And Borfiga says there are more players in the pipeline.

"One of the objectives at Tennis Canada is to make Canada a strong tennis nation, and I had figured it would take a minimum of 10 years. It's been about eight years since I started, and I'd say we're seeing the fruit of that labour," he said. "We have players at the top, but what's good is the next crop of talent is very dense. I think we're going in the right direction."

There are no guarantees, but in 16-year-olds Katherine Sebov and Charlotte Robillard-Millette, 15-year-olds Bianca Andreescu and Félix Auger-Aliassime, and 14-year-old Nicaise Muamba, Borfiga can claim the cupboard is far from bare.

There are limits to predictive reasoning when it comes to assessing Tennis Canada's $12-million annual development program, and not everyone is impressed with the results of Borfiga's tenure. But Auger-Aliassime is a good example of how difficult it is to assess talent. He looked every inch the dynamite prospect in beating a pair of established pros at a satellite tournament in Granby last month, but a year ago, before a growth spurt, he wasn't viewed as the top boys' prospect at the national centre.

He might become the next Raonic, or he might never even be a decent pro. These things aren't simple to foresee.

The Rogers Cup provides a showcase for homegrown talent, but this week, the other most recent alums of the National Training Centre system – Gabriela Dabrowski, Carol Zhao, Sebov, Andreescu, Robillard-Millette – combined to win zero sets in qualifying and the main draws.

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They're young and they playing against grizzled pros. It happens. A sports program can only be properly measured on a long timeline, and there will always be dips in the trend line.

This is not exclusively or even a typically Canadian phenomenon. It was also a crummy week for the French tennis federation, Borfiga's former employer, which saw the withdrawal of one seeded player (Richard Gasquet) and the swift elimination two others (ninth seed Gilles Simon and 15th seed Gael Monfils).

And it's not like the other countries aren't pouring resources into developing young talent. Australia, for example, has three players in the top 100 who are 22 or younger – including enfant terrible Nick Kyrgios and 26th-ranked Bernard Tomic.

So yes, Tennis Canada would have preferred a deeper run for its standard bearers. But it's not the end of the world – tickets were sold in advance so the bottom line won't be affected.

And if Borfiga is correct, at least there's cause for optimism in the medium and long term.

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