In New York on the 7th of September, 2019, a 19-year old from Mississauga made history. The crowd was hostile, the match was tough, and her opponent’s attacks renewed themselves in ferocity almost twofold. Nevertheless, she won. That day, Bianca Andreescu won the US Open and became the first Canadian to win a single’s title in tennis ever.
Flashback to a year ago, Andreescu was ranked 210 in the world; respectable, but not exceptional. She was suffering from a back injury and didn’t even make it out of the qualifiers for the US Open. If you asked the average Canadian if they knew a Canadian tennis player, they would draw a blank. Now she has a whole nation of superfans.
Her big break came on January 4th at the Auckland Open in New Zealand, where she defeated 21-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams, though Williams was admittedly passed her prime. Though Andreescu later lost in the finals, her trajectory wasn’t over. The next triumph came when she won the Indian Wells tournament in California, becoming the first Canadian to do so, and the first wild card entrant ever. She was on a warpath, defeating top 10 ranked players left, right and center.
Then came the Miami Open. Though she made it all the way to the fourth round of the tournament, a knee injury forced her to withdraw. For almost three months she was off the court, missing out on most of the year’s tournaments. One week before the Canadian Open, it was doubtful she could even compete, but compete she did.
In the finals, she was faced against what gamers would call a boss battle. With 39 Grand Slams to her name, and 319 weeks ranked number one in the world, Serena Williams had dominated her sport in a way others could only dream of. During the match, Andreescu seemed to have the upper hand, but minutes into the match her opponent was forced to withdraw for medical reasons. Immediately, despite just then becoming the first Canadian to win the Canadian Open, she comforted her distraught opponent.
Immediately following her success, Andreescu went south of the border to the big lights: the US Open. One by one, she picked off her opponents until she made it to the finals, up against none other than Serena Williams again. This time, Williams in full health, in front of a crowd and a city of fellow Americans that stood behind her. The Canadian had the upper hand until the match point, when Williams suddenly came back swinging, obliterating the spread between them. However, it was to no avail. Andreescu played her signature style, varied, powerful shots all across the court, and Williams simply couldn’t compete.
Thus, Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a single’s Grand Slam ever, up to number 5 in the world rankings. It cemented her celebrity status, earning praise from the likes of Justin Trudeau to Ashton Kutcher to Drizzy himself. Despite this fame, she keeps herself empathetic, telling the stunned American crowd, “I know you guys wanted Serena to win, so I’m so sorry.”