Team Lavia led by Captain Adrians Zguns. We have Līga Dekmeijere, Darja Semenistaja, Diana Marcinkevica, Daniela Vismane; Team Canada led by Captain Heidi El Tabakh, Francoise Abanda, Carol Zhou, Gabriela Dabrowski, Rebecca Marino, and Leylah Annie Fernandez.


Wayne McKewen, Konstantins Zasjado and Peter Kruyt sat first at the table to conduct the draw for the weekend, “On behalf of the ITF and its president, Dave Haggerty, I’d like to welcome both teams and thank them for their participation this week,” said Wayne.  The Billie Jean King Cup, the women’s World Cup of tennis was founded in 1963 and has grown to be the largest annual women’s team competition in sport. 127 Nations are entered in 2022, including the two teams here today: Canada and Latvia. The competition was formally known as the Fed Cup and was renamed in September 2020 to honour one of the greatest players in the competition’s history, Billie Jean King. Billie Jean won the title 10 times, 7 times as a player, 3 times as a player-captain. The Billie Jean King Cup takes place around the world throughout the year.

Konstantins Zasjado (left), Wayne McKewen (right) // Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers 2022 // Fueler Canada Magazine

“If I can ask Konstantin to pull out one ball please?” asked Wayne signalling to a red bowl of balls in front of him Playing in the first match, number one for Canada: Leylah Annie Fernandez; to play the number two player for Latvia, Darja Semenistaja. This will be followed by the number two for Canada, Rebecca Marino, to play the number one from Latvia, Daniela Vismane.

April 14th, 2022 // Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers 2022 // Fueler Canada Magazine

If you are unfamiliar with the format, under Billie Jean King Cup regulations, on Saturday, plays start with the respective number ones from each nation; the team captains are allowed substitutions up to one hour before the commencement of play.

The respective number twos that have been nominated from each nation: for Canada, Rebecca Marino, to play Darja Semenistaja (Latvia).

For the doubles match, captains had given Mr McKewen the doubles nominations prior: playing for Team Canada, Gabriela Dabrowski and Carol Zhao; for Team Latvia, Liga Dekmeijere and Diana Marcinkevica. “I’d like to wish both teams the best of luck and have a great tie. Thank you very much,” said Wayne.

The floor was opened to questions for both teams.

Darja, a very strong singles player and is matched with Leylah (of the same age), what is she looking forward to the most? “Now, I’m just super excited to play her tomorrow and I will just enjoy every moment of this. It’s my first time being in the team and I enjoy every second here. I love everything, I love people who are around me, so I’ll just enjoy it as much as I can.” Both girls play is left-handed.


The Pacific Coliseum is a historic place in Vancouver itself, it was the original home of the Canucks; skating for the 2010 Olympics;  Deadmau5; Led Zeppelin; Deep Purple;  and hundreds of other top shelf names in the music industry… not to mention Pink Floyd 47 years ago this week.

Rebecca Marino said, “it’s honestly just incredible to be playing here, to be home, especially after everything that’s happened through the pandemic, this is like the restart of tennis locally and to bring our community together for something really exciting is fantastic.” She’s coming in strong with confidence: three finals in the ITF, and qualified for Australia and Miami, not to mention her strength is hard court.

This is Leylah’s first home match in her blossoming career, “I’ve heard in the past that they are very loud and they’re very into the tennis matches, so I can’t wait to feel that energy and hopefully they can be as loud as in the past.”



Leylah is young and a fighter on court. Her presence is felt not only on the scoreboards but also with her charismatic approach, “we’re all passionate about the game and we really want to succeed and we’ll do whatever it takes at that point. That’s the really strong characteristic that all our teammates have, and I’m really proud of that.” Yesterday after Team Canada’s final practice, the ladies got together to answer questions from 40 young aspiring tennis players from Tennis BC. After only a few questions, one little girl passed her ball to be signed, and the that was that for the questions, the sharpies prevailed. Leylah Annie Fernandez said, “I think just to get on court and respect the sport and respect the way it should be played. One, with a good attitude, but also respecting your opponent, so that you don’t …, just so that I can show the younger kids, the next generation that it’s not about winning or losing, but it’s about the character that you show on court, and I think that’s it.”

Then we have Carol Zhao, on court she is high-energy; you can’t help but watch her play and feel excited. With every play Carol signals for a high-five – love it, what great attitude. She’s prepared and ready to give it her all in any capacity that would be needed. “I’m just really happy to be here with these girls, and we’re all a team this weekend in something that we really cherish, so really excited to get out there,” Carol said.

Rebecca Marino // April 14th, 2022 // Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers 2022 // Fueler Canada Magazine

Both teams have a winning chance and they are ready to take it out on court tomorrow.
Good luck ladies!