Canadians celebrated on Sunday when 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont, became Rogers Cup champion — the first Canadian woman to win the tennis tournament in 50 years.
Andreescu was declared the winner after tennis legend Serena Williams was forced to retire from the match at Toronto’s Aviva Centre with a reported upper-back injury. Andreescu was leading the first set 3-1 when Williams called for a medical timeout and later retired.
Tia Trovato, a 19-year-old hockey player, said while she was happy to see Serena in person, she was hoping for a Bianca win. “I didn’t see that coming, that was shocking,” Trovato said of Williams’s retirement from the final.
“I know that she is getting a little bit older but she always fight so hard in her matches, I never thought that would happen. I thought they were going to fight it to the end but props to Bianca. We’re the same age, that’s so crazy that she’s winning the Rogers Cup at 19,” Trovato added.
‘It was a great match’
Jim Vice was also hoping to see the two fight it out to the end for the winner’s trophy, but he was still very happy with the result.
“It was a great match,” Vice told CBC Toronto.
“It would have been a lot of fun to see them go to the end but we all like to see Bianca win. That was very popular.”
Williams said the injury is a recurring back spasm that doesn’t affect her ability to walk but makes serves and overhand shots painful. She’s expected to go to Cincinnati for the next stop on the WTA Tour to test it out ahead of the U.S. Open.
Jennifer Burtyanoff says she was “surprised” to see Serena pull out 20 minutes in. Even so, she says it does not diminish the importance of the win for Andreescu.
“It’s a true win, man. She played, she beat her, it’s the way the game goes,” Burtyanoff told CBC News.
“It was bittersweet but I guess that’s the way it goes.”
Irma Fine was one Canadian rooting for Serena Williams. But when it was all over, she only had five words.
“She is the star now,” Fine said of Andreescu.
‘Golden years,’ Tennis Canada exec says
For Dave Bertrand, Andreescu always had a good chance, even if Williams had not retired.
“It would have been a heck of a match,” Bertrand said. “It was great for Bianca. She deserved it. I think it’s a good win and we’ll see some good things possible in Cincinnati and definitely the U.S. Open.
“I don’t know what’s happening in Canadian tennis but it’s good and I hope it keeps on going,” Bertrand added.
Michael Downey, president and CEO of Tennis Canada agree with Bertrand that these are great times for Canadian tennis.
“Tennis is a great sport in this country. It’s the golden years right now. The next 10 years are going to be special,” Downey told CBC News.