Tennis Canada announced Friday that 16-year-old Bianca Andreescu has been named the inaugural recipient of the Rene Simpson-Collins Excellence Award, given to an outstanding female junior player that exhibits the same important values and traits of the award’s namesake. The annual honour, named in memory of the former player, coach, and Fed Cup captain, will present Andreescu with a $2,000 scholarship to help offset costs related to her training and development.
The late Simpson-Collins was an important and influential member of the Canadian tennis community for many years, posting a career-high ranking of world No. 70 as a player and helming the nation’s Fed Cup team as captain from 2001 to 2010. She passed away in October 2013 after a year-long battle with brain cancer. This award was created to honour her legacy in developing Canadian women’s tennis and her positive and long lasting contributions on and off the court. It will be presented each year to a young female who has shown the potential to reach the highest levels of tennis internationally, while also exhibiting the same values Simpson-Collins believed in, including fair play, professionalism, honesty, integrity, courage, pride and passion.
“We are so pleased to be awarding Bianca the first-ever Rene Simpson-Collins Excellence Award,” said Hatem McDadi, senior vice-president of tennis development, Tennis Canada. “Bianca displays many of the values that made Rene so special and such a positive and valued force in Canadian tennis. Bianca loves representing her country and displays so much courage, pride and integrity. She is a well-deserving recipient with a bright future ahead of her. Congratulations to Bianca on all your success on and off the court as Rene would be very proud of your accomplishments.”
Andreescu is currently competing in her first Fed Cup by BNP Paribas tie for Canada, in Americas Zone I Group play in Mexico where she is the squad’s No. 1 player. She has already shown great pride playing for her county, representing Canada at two Junior Fed Cup finals, posting third and fifth-place finishes in 2015 and 2016. She is the top-ranked female junior player in the country and is also already inside the Top 300 on the WTA singles rankings. She became a Slam champion last month, taking home the Junior Australian Open doubles title with Carson Branstine. She is also a two-time major singles semifinalist, at this year’s Australian Open and the US Open in 2016.
In addition to the outstanding female junior player award, a Rene Simpson-Collins Excellence Award will also be presented to a female tennis coach displaying the potential to reach the highest levels of coaching excellence in Canada. This $2,000 scholarship will be administered through the Tennis Professionals Association (TPA) as part of their annual awards, and will be announced at a later date.