Stepping into the superstar spotlight

MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Canadian win at U.S. Open a historic moment

Seeing Bianca Andreescu beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final on Saturday was one of the most emotional sporting events I’ve witnessed in some time. I was nervous. I was emotional. I was proud and I was a wreck — and that was just during the warm-up.

All the American commentators were picking the 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams over the 19-year-old Canadian who had never even played a set in the New York tournament before this year and was ranked 150-something at this time in 2018.

Just like all the U.S. experts on TV picked whoever was playing the Toronto Raptors before every round (they couldn’t beat the Bucks, they were not as good as the Warriors etc., etc.) until the NBA team finally silenced them by winning it all and there was no one else to play. It’s almost like our southern neighbours don’t respect us quite enough — or they’re just insufferable homers, or both. Oh, well, at least they’re not trying to build a wall to keep us out

READ MORE: Fans across Canada eager to cheer on Bianca Andreescu at U.S. Open final

Williams faltered in her previous three Grand Slam finals and Bianca was being called the next one for her strong play, gutsy demeanour and desire to win. You know, kind of like Serena.

Bianca had already beaten Serena in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto when Williams was losing and suddenly came down with an injury that forced her to quit and give Andreescu the victory. But that didn’t really count as beating her and comparing winning the Rogers Cup to conquering the U.S. Open is a bit like comparing a doubles title with a singles title – from toiling in obscurity in the dark, to centre stage with the spotlight and all the trappings and money that comes with it. At the largest tennis stadium in the world, Arthur Ashe, no less.

So the Canuck, via Romania, which explains why we can’t say her last name, won the coin toss Friday and let Williams serve and promptly broke her serve cruising to an early 2-0 lead in front of an astonished Big Apple audience. It was truly amazing to see her make big shot after big shot, a la Williams, to easily win the first set 6-3 and take a commanding 5-1 lead in the second and, as it turned out, deciding set.

Then Serena caught a break and regained the momentum in a sport that’s all about “mo.” It ignited the hometown red, white and blue faithful and she won four straight games. It looked like the favourite American was going to crush, and roll over, the upstart Canadian, tie Margaret Court’s majors record and write the Hollywood ending on home soil, that everyone wanted. That was only right and just and who did Bianca think she was anyway?

And I’m sure all Canucks were worried this American juggernaut was going to squash poor little Bianca by finishing off the comeback to win 7-5 in the second set and then humiliate her, and the country she represented, 6-0 or 6-1 in the third set for even thinking about winning something called the U.S. Open, in NYC, in her lifetime. She was out to prove without a doubt who’s the best of all time.

Except she didn’t. The Hollywood casting agency had to step down.

Bianca stemmed the tide and won the next game to take a 6-5 lead, then promptly broke Serena’s serve once again to win 7-5 and claim the title in straight sets.

READ MORE: Bianca Andreescu looks to move up in rankings after U.S. Open win

The crowd was silent once again, before they made a bee line for the exits, and Serena was a good sport, unlike last year, and Bianca was champion. The first Canadian champion in a tennis major, ever. The first rookie to win a U.S. Open ever, and she earned $3.8 million U.S. to boot. In Canadian dollars, she could probably pay off our national debt with that kind of money. Not that she will, or should.

The True North Strong and Free isn’t supposed to win tennis tournaments, let alone majors. And in NYC, against Serena? Forgettaboutit, as they say in New York. A miracle on centre court.

Sure, the world knows we can play hockey and maybe even curl, but we’re too nice and backwoods and unsophisticated to excel at a sport like tennis with its rich (in every sense of the word) history and expensive trappings.

Why, where do Canadians play tennis in the winter in Mississauga anyway? Well, Florida, like everybody else, actually.

But if the Americans watched The Tonight Show, or Kelly and Ryan or GMA or caught any part of the U.S. Open they should know there’s a new superstar in town. And she’s Canadian via Romanian refugee parents (perfect, really). We’re very proud of her, and she ain’t going anywhere.

A Northern Star is born. See you next year Serena.

READ MORE: COLUMN: The rights and wrongs of writing


@VernonNews
letters@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

SOWINS receives $1,000 from Wednesday Night Ladies Club

The money will go to support the society’s Transition House and other programs

Okanagan hosts Mexico for soccer

The Okanagan Masters League won both matches against their Mexican counterparts

Ogopogo and Shuswaggi aren’t the only lake monsters to have legendary status

While both have legend status in the Okanagan-Shuswap regions there are said to be more

Penticton students take aim at bullying with Be Kind initiative

The initiative aims to replace Anti-Bullying Day with year-round activities.

Security footage shows grab and go of cash in Penticton business break-in

Marla Black is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man who broke into Winemaster

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Epic overtime battle, big turnout for memorial night to late owner of Okanagan hockey team

The KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs hounoured Grant Sheridan with a win in the team’s home-opener

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read