My friends Magdalena Barry (from St. Albert, Alberta, Canada) and husband Ken had a trip planned for New York, piggybacking on a business meeting, arriving September 6th.  They were including their two adult children, one of whom is named Bianca.

So when I heard their travel dates, I mentioned to Maggie that the US Open finals would be going on when they were there.  But the interest level was low.  They asked how “that young Canadian girl” was doing, the girl named Bianca.

So on September 5 I was surprised to receive an email from Maggie: “I am in the Calgary airport, I just got two tickets for the US Open Women’s final tomorrow.” I replied:  “Take notes and pictures”.  And she did!

Here is the scoop on Maggie and Ken Barry’s experience at the US Open Women’s Final, 2019, Bianca Andreescu champion over Serena Williams.

How did you get tickets the day before?

“It was easy to get the tickets.  I got them on the internet, $300 each, high up in the stands.  Other people beside us bought last minute tickets too, some the same day, for $200 each.  We were far away but it was still a great seat with a great view.  You could see everything,  plus big screens for close up shots.  The stadium was easy to get to, easy to get into, safe, clean, with lots of great restaurants around.  It was a first class sporting event.  Very classy.”

What was the atmosphere like?

“The noise was deafening.  I had to cover my ears it was so loud, even that high up.  When Serena started to come back in the second set it just got louder and louder.  It was unbelievable how Bianca maintained her focus with that volume.  The Serena fans are so dedicated, and crazy.  When she lost, some people looked devastated.  Generally the fans were respectful.  It was so quiet during points you could hear a pin drop.  A few fans yelled out and could be heard around the stadium, “Go Serena, you can do it!” but it was only a few among the thousands.”

(Photo below:  Ken and Magdalena Barry at the US Open Women’s Final, Bianca Andreescu fans.)

How was Bianca received?

“Some of the people didn’t know who Bianca was, she is so new on the scene.  They were there to see Serena.  This made the victory even more special, because Bianca was the unknown, the underdog.  The American fans were respectful to Bianca and to the Canadian fans.  Ken wore his Canadian hockey jersey and cheered often and loudly for Bianca.  It was like he was cheering for his own daughter, especially since she is only 19 years old.  When she won, the American fans around us congratulated us.  Lots of people saw our Canadian jersey and gave us the thumbs up.  Some American fans even started singing “O Canada” when Bianca won (maybe they know the song from the Raptors).”

What’s that about the ladies washroom?

“In the washroom people were congratulating me as a Canadian and saying positive things about Bianca, and about Serena too.  They described Bianca as having a great game, the better player.  The chatter was about what a great day for women it was.  They were talking about Bianca and Serena as great role models for young women.  Serena at her age and with a baby, and Bianca with her hard work and focus.”

Did you think that Bianca could win?

“You could see that she had it together, in her face.  She knew she could do it.  You could tell that she was playing with complete confidence.  She almost looked calm.  You could tell she was getting into Serena’s head too.  During the trophy presentation it looked like Serena was in disbelief that she lost to the youngster.”

What was it like when she won?

“We knew how big it would be if she won, and all of a sudden, she did!  Ken and I hugged and he was still yelling in my ear, “Yeah Bianca, whoohoo, whohoo.”  We were really pulling for her.  It was exhilarating.  I am so glad we went.”


Thanks Magdalena and Ken Barry for sharing your US Open experience with Alberta’s tennis community.

And congratulations to all of us who support tennis, sport, and athletes.  I feel like we are all an oh-so-small part of  “that young Canadian girl’s” momentous achievement, that girl named Bianca.

It takes a country to raise a world class athlete.  O Canada!  Yes, she the north.