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

Tracy Owen-Best with her husband, Larry Best. Tracy runs both the Nechako Barbershop and Hair Essentials Salon in Kitimat. Diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, she’s kept a positive mindset with the help from a supportive family. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Tracy Owen-Best

Barbershop owner and cancer fighter keeps it positive

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The fence option chosen for the 461 Quatsino Boulevard development is the red lines that border the site plan. The fence will be roughly six feet high with the exception of the fence bordering Cranberry Street which will be eight feet high. (Boni Maddison Architects photo)
Fence to be erected between housing project and Kitimat homeowners

Residents of the Cranberry Street area are finally getting the fence they want

Rising demand for police to perform well-being checks and field calls for people struggling with domestic violence cases is driving the city to formulate a ‘situation table’ to connect vulnerable people with the services they need. (News Bulletin file photo)
Situation Table comes to Kitimat to support vulnerable people

Situation Tables identify and help vulnerable people in need.

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
80-million-year-old turtle find on B.C. river exciting fossil hunters

Remains of two-foot creature of undetermined species will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Most Read