By Rosemary Baptista
U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu, who is currently ranked 5th in the world, was showered with gifts from her hometown of Mississauga, the city of Toronto, and by the rapper Drake during Sunday, September 15th’s, “She the North” rally celebrating her historic win.
Thousands of people attended the rally at Celebration Square in Mississauga to cheer for the 19-year-old champion. The dignitaries that were present included Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, who is 98 years old, MPP Lisa Macleod, and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
Andreescu has presented the Key to the City by Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “It’s not something you do often,” Crombie said. – “Your most graceful and modest approach towards embracing your successes has embodied the values of both Mississauga, Ontario and Canada.”
A street has also been named after the Canadian tennis star – Andreescu Way. The location is yet to be determined.
“This is crazy,” said Andreescu. “I never thought I would have my own parade before.”
Andreescu, the first Canadian to win a singles Grand Slam title, after defeating tennis superstar Serena Williams in straight sets last weekend. Andreescu trained at Mississauga’s Ontario Racquet Club.
“What’s happening in Canadian sports this year has been so beautiful to watch and so inspiring,” she said.
Andreescu thanked the fans, Tennis Canada, her family, her team and her friends for supporting her.
“Since Bianca’s win, we’ve been inundated with inquiries from all across the country from all ages and diverse backgrounds,” said Jennifer Bishop, chair of Tennis Canada’s Board of Directors. “From large cities and small communities, all wanting to know how and where they can start playing tennis.”
Trudeau, who is in the middle of an election campaign, said Andreescu is an inspiration to all Canadians, she showed that young people can do anything. He also acknowledged Andreescu’s parents, Maria and Nicu, for raising an extraordinary daughter.
During the rally, Toronto Mayor John Tory declared Sept. 16 Bianca Andreescu Day in Toronto. Tory also gifted Bianca with a “Home is Toronto” crew sweater. – “It’s one thing to win a major sports championship, this may be the single biggest sports achievement in Canadian history, it’s another thing how you do it,” Tory said. “It’s about how she handled the win. She did us so proud as Canadians.”
Andreescu said she is glad that she never gave up when she faced tough times early in her young career.
Bianca Andreescu left an inspiring and motivating message at her Rally, “If I can do it if Serena (Williams) can do it if Roger (Federer) can do it if the Raptors can do it, so can you.”