Bianca Andreescu has already proven her prowess as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, earning a career-high ranking of number four, the highest-ranked Canadian in the history of the Women’s Tennis Association. Her defeat of the G.O.A.T. Serena Williams in the 2019 U.S. Open has cemented her place in the history books. But this year she’s been a legend of a different kind, showing that putting your physical and mental health first is essential, even for the greats. Her recent announcement that she won’t be playing in Australian Open next year, noting that she needs extra time to rest and recover from an emotionally and physically draining year, will hopefully set an example for athletes to come.
By Peter Ash | Multimedia journalist
I still remember the day.… It was Sept. 7, 2019. I was an intern at TSN, working an 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift in the newsroom when Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian tennis player to win a grand slam singles title. Personally, I thought it was nearly impossible. A Canadian? Defeating the legendary Serena Williams in her own country? There was just no way. But while I had doubts in my mind, the then 19-year-old phenom already had the victory visualized in hers. And with the win, she inspired a generation of young tennis players and athletes across Canada.
But Andreescu’s on-court success isn’t the only thing that’s made her such an inspiration. At the young age of 21, she’s already managed to build a brand with multiple major sponsors such as Nike, BMW and Rolex. And although she’s tasted some of the luxuries of being a pro athlete, Andreescu hasn’t forgotten where she came from. She’s donated thousands of dollars to Tennis Canada and even auctioned a special racquet of hers to help out the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 response fund during the peak of the pandemic last year. Maybe it’s her incredible mindset or maybe it’s her solid poise. Either way, she’s made professional life look easy.
From rising Canadian talents in Leylah Fernandez to Katherine Sebov, tennis fans across the country now have a lot to look forward to. And thanks to the inspiration that Andreescu has become, I think the names will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.
See our full list of Toronto’s most inspiring women of 2021 here.