Fernandez and Kalinina win 2023 Heart Awards20/12/2023 18:18
Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina have been announced as the Billie Jean King Cup Heart Award winners for, respectively, the 2023 Finals and Play-offs in November.
Fernandez wins the Heart Award for the third time and becomes the second player to win multiple Heart Awards in one season, having been chosen as Heart Award winner for the 2023 Qualifiers as well. She also won a Heart Award for her performance in the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Play-offs.
Fernandez won all five matches she contested as Canada won the Billie Jean King Cup title for the first time, including a victory against Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the semi-final, and secured winning point in the final with a win over Jasmine Paolini.
The ITF will make a $10,000 donation to a charity of Fernandez’s choice, with the player to confirm her charity in the coming days.
Kalinina is a first-time Heart Award winner, and becomes the second Ukrainian player to be recognised with the honour, after Kateryna Bondarenko won a Heart Award for her performances at the 2016 Europe/Africa Group I event.
The world No. 28 recorded a pair of straight-sets victories as Ukraine defeated Netherlands on neutral ground in Vilnius, Lithuania, ensuring that her nation will compete in the Qualifiers again in 2024.
Kalinina receives a $3,000 donation to a charity – and the 26-year-old has nominated the Enjoying Life Charitable Foundation, which supports older people in Ukraine to participate actively in society and campaigns against prejudiced perceptions of older people. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2022, the organisation has also played a role in supporting humanitarian aid reach communities across the country.
“I'm extremely happy to have won the Heart Award and have the opportunity to help my fellow Ukrainians with this money,” Kalinina said. “This is a cause close to my heart and I am pleased to be able to make a contribution to help improve the lives of older people in Ukraine.”
The Billie Jean King Cup Heart Award aims to honour players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to the team.