Hundreds gather to watch tennis champion Bianca Andreescu light Eaton Centre Christmas tree
Iconic 33-metre tree is the tallest in the city
Joined by hundreds of Torontonians eager to witness the official start of the holiday season, tennis champion Bianca Andreescu hosted an official ceremony Thursday evening to light up Toronto Eaton Centre's iconic Christmas tree.
"I remember actually coming last year to watch this being lit up," Andreescu, 19, told CBC Toronto at the ceremony. "Now being able to do it is really incredible."
Watch the tree being lit up:
It’s lit. <a href="https://twitter.com/Bandreescu_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Bandreescu_</a> lights Toronto Eaton Centre’s Christmas Tree with Santa 🎅 <a href="https://t.co/1FZhwcuklB">pic.twitter.com/1FZhwcuklB</a>—@CBCToronto
After what she says was an "off season" playing in Europe, the winner of this year's Rogers Cup and U.S. Open said she's ready to celebrate the holidays with her family.
"Now I'm back home, and I'm just really hoping I can celebrate Christmas at home, have a white Christmas, hopefully," she said.
The Mississauga native says her holiday traditions include shopping for presents at the Eaton Centre, skating, and the Home Alone Christmas movies.
And of course, she's always attended the ceremony to light up the tree.
Here's the moment hometown tennis champion Bianca Andreescu helped usher in the holiday season by lighting the Toronto Eaton Centre's iconic Christmas tree. Read more: <a href="https://t.co/sc2AbHOcS2">https://t.co/sc2AbHOcS2</a> <a href="https://t.co/PZ49qS4Dc2">pic.twitter.com/PZ49qS4Dc2</a>—@CBCToronto
Catching <a href="https://twitter.com/Bandreescu_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Bandreescu_</a> _ in the elevator at the Toronto Eaton Centre minutes before lighting the mall’s Christmas 🎄 tree. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/toronto?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#toronto</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/biancaandreescu?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#biancaandreescu</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tennis?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#tennis</a> <a href="https://t.co/jQBYP8RiB8">pic.twitter.com/jQBYP8RiB8</a>—@CBCToronto
Take a look at pictures of some of the ceremony's highlights:
Andreescu's rise in the tennis world this year began in January at the ASB Classic in Auckland where she reached the finals.
She then won the Oracle Challenger Series tournament and her first career Premier Mandatory title came in March at the BNP Paribas Open.
She then beat Serena Williams in the Rogers Cup final in Toronto when Williams retired from the match due to an injury. They met again in the US Open final, with Andreescu winning in straight sets.
Andreescu closes the season with a 48-7 won-loss record.
Since then, Andreescu has become the highest-ranked Canadian tennis player in WTA Tour history.
'It's been a dream of mine'
The star is recovering from a knee injury she suffered during the WTA Finals.
Now she says her knee "isn't a really big issue" anymore, but she will take some time off in preparation for her next tennis stint in Australia.
She also says she is gearing up for 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
"It's been a dream of mine to perform there, and representing my country everywhere I go is such an amazing privilege," she said.
"I'm really looking forward to it."
With files from Victoria Valido and Julia Knope