Bianca Andreescu Is The First Tennis Player Ever To Be Named Canada's Top Athlete
It's safe to say that Bianca Andreescu had an epic year in 2019. The 19-year-old Mississauga tennis pro was named Canada's top athlete this year on December 9 after capturing the nation's heart and attention on and off the court. And it seems the 2018 winner was actually ready to admit defeat and had over the trophy months ago.
On Monday, December 9, Andreescu kept on winning. The U.S. Open champion was the unanimous choice for the Lou Marsh Trophy and the title of Canada's athlete of the year 2019.
The award has been voted on by journalists from across the country since 1936. The Mississauga-born sports star is the first-ever tennis player to win the award in its 83-year history.
Her being named winner was hardly surprising. In fact, it turns out the 2018 victor, Mikael Kingsbury, actually messaged her months ago in September to essentially hand over the prize.
On September 7, the day on which Andreescu had beaten Serena Williams to win the U.S. Open in New York, the Olympic gold-medal skier tweeted: "Yo, @Bandreescu_, anytime you want to come take the #LouMarsh I have it in Montreal.. its all yours now."
That was pretty prescient of Kingsbury.
Andreescu has now become the first woman to win the award since Olympic swimmer Penny Oleksiak in 2016. That's a neat twist of fate, too, given that the two young female stars have become friends and were seen chilling and chugging with one another at a Raptors game recently.
Past winners of the award offer a who's who of great Canadian athletes, including Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Sidney Crosby, and Joey Votto, to name just a few.
The other finalists for 2019 included golfer Brooke Henderson, sprinter Andre De Grasse, Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Soroka and St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Andreescu's victory was expected and ultimately turned out to be unanimous.
Bianca became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title when she defeated Williams, regarded as perhaps the greatest women's tennis player ever, in New York.
In 2019, she jumped from No. 152 in the world to her current ranking of No. 5. Her peak position of No. 4 was the highest ever for a Canadian player.
Her success has been met with pride all over Canada, but especially in her native Mississauga and Toronto.
Beyond her success on the court, too, she's become a brand name in Canada, and a total social media celebrity.
Even her potential dating life is up for conversation, as people are shipping her and Raptors star Pascal Siakam.
In fact, she (and her mom) became so popular, she was even a favourite Halloween costume for 2019.
Andreescu's 2019 playing season was ended early due to her need to recover from a knee injury. However, despite that, she has already been installed as the second-favourite to win next month's Australian Open.
If she's gonna top her 2019, her 2020 is going to have to be unbelievable. For now, though, it's another trophy for the cabinet.