Seville (Spain) – Billie Jean King Cup champions for the first time, the Canadian team celebrated their unprecedented achievement after an almost perfect week, with just one match joining the group stage and the final stage of the competition. The athletes responsible for the feat spoke of a mixture of happiness and relief at finally having reached the cup.
“This victory means a lot, it is an incredible moment. Everyone has put in blood, sweat and tears over all these years. On the one hand, it seems like a relief, but in the most positive way possible, it’s as if a weight had been lifted from our shoulders”, said doubles player Gabriela Dabrowski, who didn’t even need to enter the court in the final, as the confrontation was defined with two singles wins.
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“We have been a top-level team for a long time, but putting this into practice was the difficult part, in recent years we have always lost to the champion team. It was an incredible week and I’m super happy to have spent it with these women. Regarding my role, before arriving I didn’t know what I was going to play, I came here to give my best, trying to play well with a positive attitude, just enjoying it”, she added.
The team’s main name, Leylah Fernandez, runner-up at the US Open in 2021, also highlighted the hard work. “It is the first time that Canada has won the Billie Jean King Cup, we can finally say that we are world champions and that we rightly deserve it. We have worked hard in recent years, each season we continue to improve, showing our potential”, said the Canadian.
“Slowly but surely, I found my game, after the US Open I felt inspired and motivated again to do better, to reach higher levels of my game. Thanks to everything I’ve been through, I’ve grown as a player, this will give me confidence in the pre-season and, I hope, throughout 2024”, added Fernandez, wanting to build on the momentum next season.
The surprising Marina Stakusic, 258th in the world in singles and 449th in doubles, responsible for opening the decision with victory, revealed that she arrived at the finals without knowing if she would play. “Before arriving I didn’t know what I was going to play, but I came to give my best, trying to play well with a positive attitude, just enjoying it. Then I found out that I was going to play in individual matches.”