Fernandez To Lead Canada Into Billie Jean Cup

Jake Cooper - 07 Oct 2021

Canadian superstar tennis teen Leylah Fernandez will this November lead team Canada into the Billie Jean Cup women’s international tennis tournament. The 19-year-old made it to the first Grand Slam final of her career last month before falling to Emma Raducanu from Britain in the last round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

Currently ranked 29th on the world rankings list, the young Canadian, who hails from Laval, Quebec, has been living her dream this year. In addition to her stunning run into the US Open final, she also this year won her first WTA title when she impressed at March’s Monterrey Open.

Andreescu Won’t Be Playing

Joining Fernandez at the Billy Jean Cup will be Francoise Abanda (Montreal), Rebecca Marino (Vancouver), and Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa).

Notably absent from the list is another young Canadian star, world No. 20 Bianca Andreescu, who recently confirmed that she would not be participating in this year’s event. Instead, Andreescu said in a statement that she’ll be attempting to finish the final months of 2021 in a strong way while focusing on building a strong comeback for 2022 during the off-season’s training block. She said she would however be joining her fellow Canadians for next year’s Cup, and wished everybody participating well.

Set to serve as Canada’s interim captain in the absence of Heidi El Tabakh will be Sylvain Bruneau. Tennis Canada has announced that El Tabakh will not be attending this year’s event due to personal reasons.

This year’s Billie Jean King Cup finals will be held at the O2 Arena in Prague in the Czech Republic. The event will be played from Nov. 1-6. The Canadians are due to compete in the same group as France and Russia.

Ash Barty Withdraws

Also missing out on this year’s Billie Jean Cup will be world No. 1 Ash Barty.

Tennis Australia’s announcement early this week has cast doubt on whether Barty will play at all again this year. Barty’s decision not to play in the inaugural edition of the re-named event came hot on the heels of her announcement that she wouldn’t be playing at Indian Wells either.

Barty hasn’t played since her shock defeat opposite America’s Shelby Rogers at the US Open. She has described 2021 as something of a rollercoaster ride.

According to coach Craig Tyzzer, the priority right now is to get Barty ready for January’s Australian Open. The world No. 1 reached the semi-finals at her home Grand Slam last year.

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