#WeTheNorth…More Like #SheTheNorth
The Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Championship had to be the biggest moment of 2019 for Canadians, right? Well, according to our neighbors from the North, it might not be too far above that of Bianca Andreescu’s rise to stardom. Several famous Canadians began tweeting “#SheTheNorth” (A play on the Raptors “#WeTheNorth”) when Andreescu made her championship run at the US Open this year. This included the famous Canadian hockey player Erin Ambrose, Andreescu’s hometown mayor Bonnie Crombie, and oh yeah Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, also tweeted her good luck with the hashtag. So, who is Bianca Andreescu, and how did this 19-year-old become the pride of Canada?
The Pride of Can…Romania?
Bianca was born on June 16, 2000, in Mississauga, Ontario to Nicu and Maria Andreescu. Although she was born in Canada, her parents immigrated from Romania in the ’90s and decided to move back to their homeland when Bianca was 7. An interesting tidbit about Andreescu’s time in Romania includes stories about her picking up stray cats and dogs to wash them, take them to the vet, and find them a loving family. However, just a few years later they moved back to Canada where, at age 11, Bianca joined Team Canada’s national training center in Toronto.
Who Could’ve Seen Andreescu Coming?
One year ago, how would anyone have known that this fearless kid from Canada would burst on to the WTA scene? Honestly, pretty much anybody could have. As a tennis enthusiast, I take pride in continually searching and finding the next best professional players. However, on this one, I failed, and it was right in front of my face. I mean just look at Andreescu’s junior career accomplishments:
- In 2014, she won Les Petits As, one of the most prestigious 14-and-under tournaments in the world. Rafael Nadal won this tournament in 2000 and Martina Hingis won it back-to-back in 1991 and 1992.
- In 2014, she won the 16-and-under Orange Bowl in Florida. By winning it, she became the 4th straight Canadian to win the event.
- In 2015, she won the Canadian Open Junior Championships, as well as the 18-and-under Orange bowl.
- Among many other accolades, Andreescu made the semifinals of two singles Junior Grand Slams and won two doubles Junior Grand Slams.
Taking Her Talent To The Pros
Although she had already won a few non-tour level matches, Andreescu’s first WTA level win came at the Citi Open in 2017. In addition to winning her first-round match, in the next round, she upset the no.13 ranked Kristina Mladenovic to become the 1st player born in the 2000s to beat a top-20 player. Skipping to 2019, Andreescu managed to qualify for the ASB Classic in Auckland where she first showed us her potential. Before reaching the championship, she beat players such as Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, and Su-Wei Hsieh. In the championship, she lost to the second-seeded Julia Goerges in a three-set match. An interesting note about Auckland is that it is where she began to wear a good luck hairband on her bicep. Then, at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells), one of the most prestigious ATP and WTA tournaments in the world, she made a run she won’t soon forget. En route to winning her first WTA championship, she took down Garbine Muguruza, a two time Grand Slam champion; Elina Svitolina, the 6th ranked player in the world; and Angelique Kerber, a former world no. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion. Following that tournament, Andreescu met Kerber again at the Miami Open. During their match, Andreescu had to have a train assess her shoulder, but went on to win the match. At the net, Kerber called her the “biggest drama queen ever.” However, I find it hard to believe she was faking considering that same shoulder forced Andreescu to withdraw from the rest of the tournament, the French Open, and miss the whole grass season.
Some More Hardcourt Heroics
Coming into the Rogers Cup unseeded, not too many people outside of Canada had very high expectations for Andreescu. But, after the 39 time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams had to withdraw from the championship, Andreescu became the first Canadian to win the tournament in 50 years. Actually, in contrast to Kerber’s comments on Andreescu, after the Rogers Cup Serena said, “I think Bianca is a great girl” and “she has a fabulous personality.” Due to her recent success, Andreescu earned the 15th seed for the US Open. Once at the slam, Andreescu didn’t disappoint, winning the first three rounds in straight sets. Then, Taylor Townsend and Elise Mertens took her to three sets only to fall to the lionhearted Andreescu. In the finals, she would meet Serena for the second straight time, but this time they would play. Well, Andreescu would play anyways. She swept Serena off the court in straight sets to win her first Grand Slam.
The Train Has Left The Station
So, at this point, we all know how good Andreescu is and inevitably how great she will be. Still, what is left for those of us who missed the Bianca train? Basically, there are two options, we can jump on now and risk appearing as a bandwagoner, but enjoy cheering on the best player in the world at every tournament. Or, we can refuse to lose our pride and live a lonely life fruitlessly cheering for Andreescu’s subservient peers. Whichever path you choose, loyal fan or irreparable adversary, the pride of Canada will undoubtedly dominate the world of tennis for years to come.
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