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

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

Pioneer Arena is closing for the season. Photo: John Boivin
Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena and Nelson Civic Centre closing for season

RDCK is closing the ice at two of its arenas due to financial concerns related to COVID-19

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy is the largest protected area in southeastern B.C. Photo: B.C. Parks
Province adds land to Valhalla and Purcell parks

Both additions enhance the parks’ ecological values, the province says

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read