Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, reacts after defeating Serena Williams, of the United States, in the women’s singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York on September 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Adam Hunger

Tennis star Bianca Andreescu named The Canadian Press female athlete of the year

Bianca Andreescu’s list of accomplishments over the last 12 months is a long one

Bianca Andreescu started the season as an up-and-coming teenager eager to make her mark on the WTA Tour. She finished the campaign as one of its top stars.

A murderer’s row of tennis talent — Kerber, Venus, Wozniacki, Svitolina, Pliskova, and of course, Serena — all fell to the upstart Canadian who shone in the key moments and on some of the sport’s biggest stages.

Andreescu capped her unforgettable season Thursday by winning the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as The Canadian Press female athlete of the year.

“When I step on the court, I know it’s very easy to say, but I try not to focus on who’s on the other side,” Andreescu, a 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., said. “I think that’s helped me achieve what I’ve achieved.”

Andreescu’s list of accomplishments over the last 12 months is a long one. She kept one-upping herself throughout the year.

One breakthrough came at Indian Wells last March. A Rogers Cup singles title — the first by a Canadian in 50 years — came in August in Toronto, a few weeks ahead of Andreescu’s history-making turn at the U.S. Open.

In a generational Canadian sports moment on par with Mike Weir’s Masters victory and Sidney Crosby’s golden goal, Andreescu beat Serena Williams to become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title.

“Bianca Andreescu is the only choice for Canada’s female athlete of the year,” said Globe and Mail sports editor Shawna Richer. “Hands down the most dominant performance of any athlete, male or female. This year, a star was born.”

Andreescu nearly swept the year-end poll of broadcasters and editors from across the country.

She picked up 66 of 68 votes (97 per cent) overall, with short-track speedskater Kim Boutin and middle-distance runner Gabriela DeBues-Stafford taking one vote apiece.

Golfer Brooke Henderson won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award the last two years. The last tennis player to take the honour was Eugenie Bouchard, who won in 2013 and 2014.

The winner of the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada’s male athlete of the year will be named Friday and the team of the year will be named Saturday.

Andreescu rocketed up the rankings on her way to becoming a top-five player. She started the year at No. 152.

With a punishing, grinding style that keeps opponents on their heels, Andreescu has a variety of weapons that can be tough to match. She has the power game to hang with the big hitters and uses different spins and drops to her advantage.

“I think now I’m at a stage where I can choose the right shot at the right time,” she said. “That’s one challenge I think that I’ve faced this year is to choose the right tool in my toolbox at a certain time. But I think that’s improving and I think I can continue to storm the WTA Tour.”

Andreescu had to battle her way through qualification draws a year ago. Main draw appearances and eventual seedings in bigger tournaments soon followed.

Her performance at the ASB Classic in Auckland last January got people’s attention. She beat former world No. 1s Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki before losing in the final.

Andreescu won a lower-level WTA 125K Series event in Newport Beach, Calif., later that month before breaking out at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.

A second-round win over then-world No. 35 Dominika Cibulkova and quarterfinal rout of then-world No. 20 Garbine Muguruza stood out before a final victory over Angelique Kerber, the world No. 8 at the time.

“When I beat Cibulkova, I think that sparked something in me because then I played Muguruza and it was just the best match I’ve ever played,” Andreescu recalled. “I won that match (love) and one, which is very rare.

“I think after that moment, I really thought that I can actually win a Grand Slam.”

Andreescu earned her first seven-digit paycheque of US$1.35 million and rose 36 spots to No. 24 in the world. She became the first wild-card entry to win the Premier Mandatory-level tournament.

However, injuries were a problem at times. Andreescu’s season ended at the WTA Finals with a knee injury and her mid-season schedule was limited by a shoulder issue that forced her to retire from her fourth-round match at the Miami Open.

After a second-round exit at the French Open, Andreescu returned with a vengeance at the Rogers Cup. Adored by the Toronto crowd in what was essentially a hometown tournament, she earned the crown when Williams had to stop playing after just four games due to injury.

Andreescu picked up where she left off a couple weeks later at the U.S. Open. She dropped only two sets in the entire tournament before dispatching Williams again in the final, this time by a score of 6-3, 7-5.

“In the back of my head, there’s always that thought (where) you know you’re playing someone that’s top five or top 10,” Andreescu said. “But in those circumstances my level just increases, which I think is good because I have to raise my level in order to keep up with them.

“I don’t know how it gets to that. It just does.”

Andreescu closed the season at No. 5 in the world rankings. She posted a 48-7 record on the campaign and totalled $6.5 million in earnings.

Aleksandra Wozniak (2009), Helen Kelesi (1989, 1990) and Carling Bassett (1985) are the other tennis players who have won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award.

Rosenfeld, an Olympic medallist in track and field and a multi-sport athlete, was named Canada’s best female athlete of the half-century in 1950.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Tom Shypitka, pictured with his campaign team. on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. Trevor Crawley photo
Shypitka wins second term; BC NDP cruise to majority

“Election Days,” rather than “Election Day,” may be the more accurate term… Continue reading

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read