Team Canada at the Billie Jean King Cup Gala in front of trophy

Photo : Billie Jean King Cup

By Ben Lewis

Canada brings star-studded cast to Glasgow, Scotland with title aspirations 

It’s Canada’s most stacked roster in the event’s history. 

Leylah Annie Fernandez, Bianca Andreescu, Rebecca Marino, Carol Zhao, and Gabriela Dabrowski will lead a loaded and determined Canadian squad into the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

Captained this week by Andreescu’s former coach Sylvain Bruneau, it serves as the best opportunity Team Canada presented by Sobeys has had to win the 59-year-old event, as they boast three players inside the top 100 of singles, and one top 10 player in doubles.

Leylah Annie Fernandez 

Leylah Fernandez headlines the team not only as its highest ranked player in singles, but also the youngest. 

The 20-year-old has proven to be exceptionally reliable on the international stage too. 

Fernandez has won five of six singles matches in Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers since 2021 and secured key victories against Latvia earlier this spring in Vancouver.

Fernandez clinches Qualifiers tie against Latvia in Vancouver, 2022. Photo: Joe Ng

The native of Laval has had plenty of standout highlights in 2022, winning her second career singles title at the Monterrey Open in Mexico, reaching the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, and making a semi-final in doubles at Indian Wells alongside Alize Cornet of France. 

While Fernandez was kept off the tour for over two months due to a fractured foot, she is healthy again, and poised to help lead Canada.

Bianca Andreescu

Meanwhile, it’s been three years since Bianca Andreescu has played at the Billie Jean King Cup, last competing in 2019, the strongest season of her career. 

She’s been tough as nails in international play too, going 10-3 overall with seven of those victories coming in singles. 

Despite an abbreviated 2022 in which she only returned to competition in May, Andreescu has compiled a solid 19-12 record and seems to be hitting her stride. 

“I definitely feel that I’ve improved tremendously since last year,” Andreescu said ahead of the event. 
Andreescu took a six-month break from the sport before returning this spring, something that has no doubt helped her mentality.  

“I’m dealing with everything better. I feel like I’m maturing day by day, and I’m absorbing things in a healthier way.”

Andreescu had her best result at the Bad Homburg Open in June, reaching the singles final – she also made the quarterfinals of the WTA1000 Italian Open on clay. 

While her focus is on bringing her best possible tennis this week, she has a lot of confidence in the group around her. 

“I believe this team can win the tournament, no doubt,” said Andreescu. 

“If we all come together and just support each other no matter what – I think if we can do that, and just stay focused and all have the same goal, I think we can do really well.”

Rebecca Marino

Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino is the veteran member of the team, and the 31-year-old is enjoying one of the very best seasons of her career. 

Marino has moved back inside the top 70 of the rankings for the first time since 2012 and has posted a career high in singles wins with 49. 

“It’s been a long journey through this come back, coming out of this retirement in 2018. From then to now – to finally crack the top 100, that takes a while,” said Marino on Match Point Canada.  
“I feel like each year was going through a progression and knowing that my level was improving. It’s been a good incline.”

Carol Zhao 

Carol Zhao will be another option for the singles team if needed, and she has also made a substantial leap in the rankings this season, moving from 325 at the end of last year to 162. 

Her year has been highlighted by two ITF titles in Charleston and South Korea this summer.

Photo: Pascal Ratthé

Gabriela Dabrowski 

Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski has again proven herself to be an elite doubles player, not only sitting sixth in the rankings but again qualifying for the WTA Finals in Fort Worth. 

Dabrowski has added to her trophy case again in 2022, winning three doubles titles with victories at the Madrid Open, Chennai Open, and Pan Pacific Open.  

Dabrowski has made appearances for Canada at the Billie Jean King Cup every year dating back to 2013, and has produced nine wins, all in doubles.

Photo: Pascal Ratthé

Her skillset and versatility allow her to challenge alongside different partners too. 

This season, Dabrowski won two titles with Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos, and one with Luisa Stefani of Brazil.

The Challenge 

The stiff competition lies ahead right away in this event, as Canada has landed in Group A alongside Switzerland and Italy. 

The Swiss are led by Tokyo gold medallist and World No. 12, Belinda Bencic, and 35th ranked Jil Teichmann. 

Italy boasts a strong cast of singles players with French Open semi-finalist Martina Trevisan, and last season’s 2021 National Bank Open presented by Rogers champion, Camila Giorgi.  

Navigating top teams and players is always the expectation with a world class international event. 

Never has Canada looked more ready to take on the challenge.