Canada’s teenaged Billie Jean King Cup hero holds Wimbledon dream

Marina Stakusic Canada
Canada's Marina Stakusic returns the ball against Italy's Martina Trevisan.

In the absence of some big name players 19-year-old Marina Stakusic put in a star turn for Canada in their run to a maiden Billie Jean King Cup title.

Stakusic went 3-1 in singles across the finals week and notched wins over top 100 players while herself ranked outside of the top 250.

The Canadian teenager bested No 64 Rebeka Masarova, No 63 Magdalena Frech, and No 42 Martina Trevisan as she helped her nation to their first triumph in the women’s team event.

Stakusic admitted that it was surreal to turn out for her country alongside Leylah Fernandez and Eugenie Bouchard.

She was delighted to stack up well against top players even if she admitted that the packed indoor arena was an atmosphere that threw her for a loop.

“Going in, I wanted to see where am I compared to these top girls,” Stakusic told WTA Insider.

“I got a pretty good answer by the end of the week.

“It was just crazy to be on a team with Leylah, Genie, and Gaby. I watched Genie play the final of Wimbledon, so it was so cool to be on the same team as her. It was so loud in there, it was hurting my brain at times, but it was so cool. Those are the moments you work for, so it was an unbelievable experience.”

Stakusic says that she has always held the goal of winning Wimbledon and being the world No 1 in her mind.

“From a very young age, my goals in my head were to win Wimbledon and become No 1 so from the beginning, I never really did it just for fun. I was doing this to win Wimbledon one day. I’m not just doing it for fun. It’s always been serious since the beginning.”

Stakusic feels that she has no choice but to be a tennis star given her desire to play the game in front of big crowds.

She puts her competitive streak down to being the middle child in her family.

“I love competing,” Stakusic added.

“I love hitting the ball. It’s therapeutic. When I’m on court all my problems disappear.

“There’s something in me that just loves holding a racquet, playing in front of people.

“I’m pretty competitive. I have one older and one younger sister. I’m the middle child, the calm child of the family. I’m the one who calms down my siblings from exploding like bombs. We’re very close. We get along and hang out all the time.

“But I cannot lose to my younger sister, like, in life.

“There’s no chance I’m letting that happen in anything. So I’m pretty competitive off the court.”

READ MORE: Led by Felix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez Team Canada will be a force at the United Cup