Billie Jean King Cup declared ‘inspirational’ as Canada claim first title
Leylah Fernandez was the star of the show as Canada beat Italy to win the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time in their history.
Fernandez sealed the win by defeating Jasmine Paolini after Marina Stakusic paved the way with a victory over Martina Trevisan in the opening singles match.
The triumph underlines the Canadians’ status as a top tennis nation with it coming just a year after their men’s team won the Davis Cup.
“It feels amazing and I’m extremely proud that I was able to get to represent Canada on the biggest stage,” Fernandez said after collecting the trophy from Billie Jean King herself – as well as the record $2.4million prize money.
“To do it in front of Billie Jean, it means the world to me, to us and hopefully we can keep going, celebrate tonight and just have fun.”
🇨🇦 WORLD CHAMPIONS 🇨🇦
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) November 12, 2023
Fernandez’s win over Paolina completed a perfect week for her, as she made it five wins out of five in her matches. Rebecca Marino, Eugenie Bouchard and Gabriela Dabrowski joined Fernandez and Stakusic to complete the team, with Bianca Andreescu absent due to a back injury.
“This team, these girls are incredible,” captain Heidi El Tabakh said. “I’m just so happy, I’m happy for the team and happy for everyone involved.
“It’s been an incredible week and to finish it off by winning the Billie Jean King Cup – this is a dream come true.”
Billie Jean King Cup ‘inspirational’
The 2023 Billie Jean King Cup was the third since it was rebranded from the Federations Cup, and it has already proved a resounding success.
Not only has it broken barriers in terms of equal prize-money (with the pot now comparable to the Davis Cup), but it has been highly competitive every year with a different winner each time.
“Congratulations to Canada for capturing their first Billie Jean King Cup title,” Billie Jean King said. “They played some incredible tennis this week and are deserving World Champions, and it was a great honour to present them with the trophy.
“Italy have also been fantastic this week, even though they have just come up short today. It has been a special week here in Seville, and I thank all the players, fans and staff who have made it so inspirational. I’m already excited for 2024!”
Meanwhile, ITF President David Haggerty said: “Today has been the perfect way to end a wonderful week in Seville.
“I’d like to congratulate Canada on their well-deserved title win and my commiserations go to Italy. Like every player who’s taken part this week, they have done their nations proud.
“2024 is going to be a very exciting year as we continue to build on the recent growth of the women’s World Cup of Tennis.”
Seville will once again be the host nation for 2024 after they signed a multi-year deal in May.
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