With a Billie Jean King Cup team tennis title under her belt, Canadian teenager Marina Stakusic is aiming just as high for her singles career as she looks to make her mark on the WTA Tour.
“Hopefully in the next few years I’ll win WTA tournaments [and] Grand Slams,” she said Wednesday. “Those have always been my goals since I was a kid.”
Stakusic, a relative unknown just a few weeks ago, delivered a breakout performance at the 12-team competition in Seville, Spain.
The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., was a surprise selection for singles duty and delivered three key victories, including a stunning upset of 43rd-ranked Martina Trevisan in the final.
Teammate Leylah Fernandez went on to clinch the title over Italy at Estadio la Cartuja.
“It all happened really fast, but it’s been the most incredible end of season for me,” Stakusic stated. “I’m so happy I was able to be a part of history. It’s something that is extremely cool and special.
“I’m excited to keep going and keep pushing.”
The more immediate goals for the world’s 265th-ranked women’s singles player are cracking the top 100, moving from the ITF circuit to the top-flight WTA Tour, and qualifying for the French Open in May.
“It obviously gives me so much confidence in knowing where my game is at and playing against these top players,” Stakusic said on a conference call. “Just knowing what I have to improve on to get to the highest level.”
Displaying the poise of a veteran on one of the sport’s biggest stages, Stakusic opened with a straight-sets victory over Rebeka Masarova of host Spain.
She followed with a three-set victory over another top-100 opponent, Poland’s Magdalena Frech, before falling to Czechia’s Barbora Krejcikova.