Marina Stakusic prepares to toss up a serve.

Photo : Sarah-Jade Champagne

The roster making up Team Canada presented by Sobeys at the Billie Jean King Cup has gotten a little bit deeper thanks to the addition of Marina Stakusic. 

Though this marks the first time Stakusic joins Team Canada, her track record from the last few months shows she’s up to the task. 

Though she’s currently in the midst of the Saguenay National Bank Challenger, she’ll look to use her momentum to maintain her hot streak. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Stakusic. 

Humble Beginnings 

Stakusic made her professional debut in 2019 at the W25 event in Denver, Colorado and continued developing throughout the year with performances in Saguenay, Granby, and Toronto before the pandemic halted the world in 2020. 

The then 14-year-old secured several qualifying wins in that time. She failed to reach the main draw until the W60 in Saguenay where she faced off against Tara Moore of the United Kingdom in the first round.

Read also: Bouchard Returns To Team Canada For The First Time Since 2018

When tennis returned to normalcy in 2021, Stakusic competed in the main draw of several tournaments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. She managed to make as far as the second round in two tournaments, but a deeper run still eluded her. 

The Ascension Begins 

Wasting no time in 2022, Stakusic immediately improved, reaching the quarter-finals of her first tournament that year in Cairo. Though she lost in a tightly contested match to Anastasia Zolotareva, it became clear she was becoming more competitive.  

Despite a somewhat inconsistent 2022 on the singles side of things, Stakusic continued to impress. She reached the semifinals in the W15 in Cairo, losing to Giulia Crescenzi of Italy and shined in her doubles’ performances. 

Stakusic and her partner Kayla Cross took home the trophy at the W25 in Saskatoon, besting the American-Serbian connection of Kendra Bunch and Katarina Kozarov in two sets. The Canadian duo went on to make the finals later that year at the W60 in Calgary but fell short to Americans Catherine Harrison and Sabrina Santamaria. 

The Arrival 

An injury at the top of 2023 kept Stakusic out for six months, but the year wound up being a breakout one for the 18-year-old who reached new heights in her singles career including a pair of ITF Circuit wins.

Although her year got off to a rocky start, including failing to qualify for the Canadian Open, she still managed to reach the quarter-finals in three tournaments.

Things changed mightily for Stakusic during the W25 in Valladolid. After breezing through her first four matches, she took home the trophy after besting Anna Kubareva in three sets. 

One tournament win is nice, but two is better. That was probably what Stakusic was thinking during her run in the following W60 tournament in Berkeley. She made quick work of her five opponents, dispatching each one in just two sets each. 

Turning Heads 

Stakusic’s brilliant September run quickly turned people’s heads. The Mississauga-native was named ITF World Tennis Tour Player of the Month following her two victories. Before the first tournament in Valladolid, Stakusic was ranked No. 588. Once October came around, she saw her ranking increase exponentially to No. 297. 

“I’m super happy and honoured to be named ITF [World Tennis Tour] Player of the Month,” Stakusic told the ITF. “I am very pleased with my recent results. Since I have been out for six months due to injury, it makes it even more exciting that I was able to compete well and get great results. I am very motivated to keep going and win even bigger titles.”

In 2023, Stakusic recorded an impressive 17-3 record with one walkover in the W60 in Templeton. She’s currently participating in the Saguenay National Bank Challenger this week where she’s seeded seventh. 

All Sights Set On Seville 

The Billie Jean King Cup is set to begin on Nov. 7 and Stakusic, along with teammates Gabriela Dabrowski, Leylah Annie Fernandez, Rebecca Marino, and Katherine Sebov, is looking to make waves at a higher level than ever.  

Following two key victories in September, she could use them as momentum and inspiration to continue her impressive run. With matches against Spain and Poland on the horizon, Team Canada will have great firepower on display in an effort to bring the Cup to Canada.