Leylah Fernandez pumps her chest in victory

Photo: cameraworks USA

The Bobbie Rosenfeld Award is awarded annually by the Canadian Press to Canada’s female athlete of the year

Tennis Canada would like to extend its heartfelt congratulations to Leylah Fernandez, who earned the 2021 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award presented by the Canadian Press to the country’s best female athlete. The 19-year-old Quebecer is the sixth tennis player to win the award since it was created in 1932, joining Carling Bassett-Seguso (1983, 1985), Helen Kelesi (1989, 1990), Aleksandra Wozniak (2009), Eugenie Bouchard (2013, 2014) and Bianca Andreescu (2019).

“I’m very honored to be amongst these athletes who’ve done so much women’s sports, and their respective sports, and even outside of their sports,” Fernandez said. “Growing up, I’ve read about (last year’s winner, soccer star Christine Sinclair) in the news. I’ve seen her how much she’s accomplished, and I’m honored to have my name right beside her’s.”

“Leylah is so deserving of this prestigious award,” affirmed Michael Downey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tennis Canada. “At such a young age, she rolled over three Top 10 players to reach the US Open final. She may not have gotten the result she wanted but her on-court performance was simply brilliant. And her post-match speech about September 11th was for the ages, as she endeared herself to New Yorkers forever. Leylah is the real deal, and she will inspire the next generation of young players across the country to pick up a racquet through the rest of this decade and beyond.” 

Photo: WTA

In addition to competing in the US Open final and becoming only the second Canadian to achieve the feat after Bianca Andreescu in 2019, Leylah raised her very first WTA championship trophy in Monterrey, Mexico, when she secured a two-set win (6-1, 6-4) over then No.102 Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland. Her excellent performances all season helped boost her ranking to a career-high World No.24.

In 2021, the Laval native also achieved great heights with Team Canada. At the Billie Jean King Cup Play-Offs in April, she was presented with the Heart Award by the International Tennis Federation on the heels of Canada’s 4–0 triumph over Serbia, in which she posted victories over Olga Danilovic (7-5, 4-6, 6-4) and Nina Stojanovic (3-6, 6-3, 6-4).

“Leylah definitely proved this year, and especially at the US Open, that she could rank among the best in the world,” said Sylvain Bruneau, Head of Women’s Professional and Transition Tennis at Tennis Canada. “So many fans discovered a relentless and passionate competitor who fights for every single ball and displays a nice blend of power, intelligence and athleticism on the court. She also showed that she was the full package with her genuine and inspiring speeches after her matches.”

About the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award

The Bobbie Rosenfeld is awarded annually by The Canadian Press to the top female Canadian athlete as voted on by sports editors across the country. It is named after track and field star Bobbie Rosenfeld, who was named CP’s top female athlete of the half-century in 1950.