Canada's Leylah Fernandez named 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Play-Offs Heart Award
Laval, Que., native's 2 singles victories lifted Canada to 4-0 sweep over Serbia
Canadian Leylah Fernandez has been announced the winner of the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Play-Offs Heart Award on Monday for her outstanding performances in Canada's 4-0 victory over Serbia in April.
The Laval, Que., native's two singles victories catapulted Canada into securing its place in next year's qualifiers.
"I am honoured and so thrilled to win this year's Billie Jean King Cup Heart Award," Fernandez said. "Thank you so much to the fans who voted. It means the world to me to represent my country and be part of an incredible team.
"Congratulations to all of the nominees. After such a challenging year for all of us, it's amazing to be given the opportunity to celebrate kindness and pay it forward. Thank you very much. Go Canada Go!"
WATCH | Fernandez seals the deal for Canada at Billie Jean King Cup:
The 18-year-old beat out nominees Katie Boulter of Great Britain, Magdalena French of Poland and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine for the award. The nominees were selected by a panel that includes International Tennis Federation (ITF) President David Haggerty, Cup Ambassador Billie Jean King, in addition to former players and members of the media.
Canadian Rebecca Marino won the other singles match, and then teamed up with Carol Zhao in doubles to seal the 4-0 sweep for a Canadian team led by Captain Heidi El Tabakh.
"I am so happy and extremely proud of Leylah for winning the Billie Jean King Cup Play-Offs Heart Award," El Tabakh said. "It was well deserved following a spectacular performance in Serbia, which she worked so hard for. Leylah is a great fighter on the court, she always represents Canada with pride and is an incredible teammate for her fellow players. She is a very worthy winner of this award."
WATCH | Canada's Leylah Fernandez comes out victorious in opening match at Billie Jean King Cup: