For the first time in the event’s history, Canada is the Billie Jean King Cup winner. Led by the red-hot Leylah Fernandez and the previously undisputed 18-year-old Marina Stakusic, the Canadians clinched the title on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Italy.
Fernandez, the 2021 US Open finalist, won all four singles matches – including a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 victory over reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the semifinal against the Czech Republic – and a doubles match. And Stakusic, who is currently ranked 261st and had never beaten a top 100 player before, recorded three individual victories, with all players placing in double figures.
“It was the best week of my life,” Stakusic said without exaggeration on Sunday during the trophy ceremony.
And as if national pride and bragging rights weren’t enough, the Canadian team collected a record-breaking check for $2.4 million – the same amount the men’s champions will receive in the upcoming Davis Cup.
Fernandez, who was scheduled to play doubles with Gabriela Dabrowski if a third match was necessary, secured victory with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jasmine Paolini on Sunday. Fernandez threw her racket in the air and ran over to celebrate with her cheering teammates, which included Eugenie Bouchard and Rebecca Marino, as soon as the game ended. The collective reaction really says it all.
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) November 12, 2023
“I am extremely happy and excited,” Fernandez told reporters after the game. “You know, it’s the first time Canada has won the Billie Jean King Cup. Finally I can say: We are world champions and we rightly deserve it.”
With the Canadian men’s team reigning Davis Cup champions – at least for a few more days – it’s definitely a good time for tennis up north.
I’m really happy about Team Canada’s victory @BJKCup for the first time!!! WORLD CHAMPION!! Congratulations to everyone involved
— Denis Shapovalov (@denis_shapo) November 12, 2023
Here’s what else you might have missed from the tennis world last week:
Collins’ emotional tribute
While the United States team didn’t make it out of the group stage at the Billie Jean King Cup, the event marked the finals for long-time captain Kathy Rinaldi. The players, organizers and the USTA I made sure to pay tribute to Rinaldiwho remains the USTA’s head of women’s tennis throughout the week, but it was Danielle Collins who provided perhaps the most meaningful and warmest farewell.
“If it were up to me, I would bring Kathy to every tie and have her at every tournament and she would be my neighbor, my roommate, whatever,” Collins said. “We just have so much fun together. There’s never a dull moment with Kathy.”
“The way Kathy cares about all of us as people. Life is not always easy, neither as athletes nor as people in general. We have ups and downs, and Kathy has been one of the constant themes and constant people in our lives. “You know, I just love her more than anything.”
Rinaldi will be succeeded by former world number 1 and three-time major champion Lindsay Davenport.
The Australian team also said goodbye to Alicia Molik, the captain of the last decade.
“Mol, you created the best team, this team feels like a family to me. No matter what the result, we always have the best time,” team member Daria Saville continued Instagram. “I can’t even imagine our next tie without you…you will forever be a mother to this family.”
If in Turin
The ATP Finals are officially underway in Turin, Italy, and while Novak Djokovic wasted no time securing the year-end No. 1 ranking for the eighth time, the fun began before the competition even began.
In a video posted by the ATP on social media, players in both the singles and doubles draws were asked for their bold predictions for the event. While some players seem to have a questionable understanding of the word “courageous,” Djokovic perhaps gave the best answer.
“If I don’t want to be humble and honest, I will win the tournament,” Djokovic said. “If I want to be humble, I’ll win the tournament too.”
He has won three major titles this year, as well as three additional ATP titles, and is a six-time champion at the year-end event. Can you really contradict him here?
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 12, 2023
No one predicted that Jannik Sinner’s most loyal fans would be in attendance – but sure enough, the lovable, root vegetable-clad group called The Carota Boys are on hand to cheer him on. The team even had the opportunity to meet and hang out with Sinner during a practice on Thursday.
But the cutest fan before the tournament was probably Daniil Medvedev’s one-year-old daughter Alisa. Medvedev’s wife Daria filmed Alisa pushing a cart through the arena and walking past a poster of her father. Her reaction when she saw his picture is priceless.
Medvedev’s daughter Alisa spotted her father at the ATP Finals ❤️
(via mrsmedvedev/IG) pic.twitter.com/ctaJ5PajBo
— Eurosport (@eurosport) November 11, 2023
end of an era
There have been some pretty surprising splits in 2023 – but nothing could have prepared us for the just-announced split between reigning Australian Open doubles champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
Few have achieved the success that this partnership has had in recent years. Together, Krejcikova and Siniakova have won seven major titles as well as Olympic gold and the WTA final, and were joint world No. 1. But on Sunday, Czech media reported that the two would not play together in the 2024 season – which seemed particularly notable in an Olympic year as defending champions.
“I wanted a bit of variety,” Siniakova said, according to Tenisovysvet.cz. “I think a break could do us some good. I don’t rule out the possibility of us playing together again and maybe being even stronger.”
Krejcikova, who shared a fan post about the end of the partnership on her Instagram Story on Sunday, said she was surprised by Siniakova’s decision but that she respected it. The move is expected to give both more time to focus on singles – Krejcikova is the 2021 French Open champion and Siniakova has won two singles titles this season – and that may not be forever, but for them It still feels like the end of an era for one of the best teams of all time.