How Bianca Andreescu's historic win will help build tennis in N.L.
WTA vice-president Melissa Pine, originally from Newfoundland, says victory is 'massive' for Canadian tennis
When Bianca Andreescu beat Serena Williams on Saturday at the U.S. Open, Melissa Pine was among the 23,000 cheering fans at Arthur Ashe stadium watching one of the greatest moments in Canadian tennis history.
Andreescu, 19, defeated Williams in straight sets to become the first Canadian ever to win a tennis Grand Slam tournament.
"It was like nothing I have ever experienced. This was historic," said Pine, originally from Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove.
"The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. There was so much momentum and excitement."
Pine's not just a fan; she's been working for the Women's Tennis Association for 12 years, and her role as its vice-president of global programming development helped get her great seats for the match.
"I was so proud to be Canadian," Pine said. "I felt really grateful to be there."
Pine left Newfoundland and Labrador for Washington State University on a full tennis scholarship in the late 1990s.
Since earning her MBA from the school, she has dedicated her life to help growing the sport.
I told her to never change.- Melissa Pine
That included a five-year stint in Singapore running the WTA Finals — the tour's season ending crown jewel event that features the top-ranked professional players — before moving to Florida earlier this year.
Andreescu's U.S. Open win just made her job a lot easier.
"I think a lot more kids, especially young girls, will be picking up a tennis racket now and playing our sport because they see it is possible," said Pine.
Pine said the effects of the win will stretch from coast to coast. A 19 year-old Canadian beating arguably the greatest tennis player of all time will change the sport in this country, she said.
"This is massive," she said. "This is the beginning of a new era of tennis in our country."
After the win over Williams on Saturday night, Pine chatted with Canada's newest sports icon, who she said is "down to earth and authentic."
"I told her not to change, and she laughed when I told her that," Pine said. "Huge success — and success that comes quickly like this — can sometime change people."
Pine said she told Andreescu she's an inspiration to kids in Newfoundland and Labrador, and across Canada.
"She was happy to hear that and she said that is what she really wants to do, to be able to inspire kids," said Pine.