Fernandez, Andreescu: Canada to field weaker team after Billie Jean King Cup withdrawals

Leylah Fernandez Bianca Andreescu

Canada will be forced to feature a weakened squad for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals this year.

The nation's top two players will not be taking part in the tournament after Leylah Fernandez confirmed yesterday that she will not compete in Prague this year.

World number 21 Bianca Andreescu will also miss out on the action – stating she would be spending her time preparing for next year's WTA Tour instead.

Carol Zhao will take 19-year-old Fernandez's place in the Cup after interim Canada captain Sylvain Bruneau said he understood the teen's decision to void her participation following a long season.

Fernandez made a major senior breakthrough last month with her magnificent run to the US Open final – beating Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, and Elina Svitolina along the way.

Leylah Fernandez

The Canadian faced Britain's Emma Raducanu in the final at Flushing Meadows in an all-teenage showdown. Despite a solid effort from Fernandez and a thrilling game of tennis, she was pipped to the title 6-4, 6-3.

Fernandez had been competing in the Indian Wells Masters this month alongside fellow tennis prodigy Coco Gauff in the women's doubles, but the pair were eliminated by Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei in the quarter-finals.

Leylah Fernandez Emma Raducanu

"It has always been an honour to represent my country," Fernandez said. "Canada has given me and my family so much opportunity and in the last few weeks, the Canadian support has meant the world to me.

"After consideration, I have made the decision to not play the BJK Cup Finals. I wish my team all the best this November."

US Open champion Raducanu is also managing her workload since returning from the States – withdrawing from the upcoming Kremlin Cup.

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The BJK Cup Finals, which were initially scheduled for April, will get underway on November 1st and run until the 6th.

Canada has been drawn in Group A along with France and the Russian Tennis Federation. Group B consists of Australia, Belarus, and Belgium, while USA, Spain, and Slovakia make up Group C.

The final group will see Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland battle it out for a spot in the semi-finals. 

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