Faye Urban is shown on Nov. 27, 1965.
Archives / Windsor Star
Windsor native Faye Urban Mlacak had a feeling her 50-year-old record as the last Canadian woman to win the Rogers Cup would be broken by Bianca Andreescu.Urban Mlacak could see it coming even before the three-time Rogers Cup champ and tennis superstar Serena Williams had to quit 19 minutes into the final Sunday because of back pain. The 19-year-old Andreescu had come back from a shoulder injury and her stellar play to get to the final showed she had what it takes to make history, said Urban Mlacak who was rooting for the Mississauga teen.“I feel that Bianca was going to win no matter what,” she said Monday from her Toronto home where she watched the match on TV. “She was playing so strongly.”The 74-year-old grew up in west Windsor and in 1969 became the last Canadian female tennis player until Sunday to win what was then called the Canadian Open and later became the Rogers Cup.“Every year that the Canadian Open, the Rogers Cup, comes around, there’s always a question of will this record be broken. Will a Canadian finally win? So that’s been 50 years in the making.”It is fitting that it was Andreescu because she’s an exceptional talent who plays well above the norm for her age, Urban Mlacak said. “I was delighted she was the one to do it.”
Lou Veres, right, and Faye Urban won the Windsor and District Tennis Championships in 1959.
Andreescu’s success — she was leading the match 3-1 when Williams withdrew — will impact younger players and help tennis in Canada, she said. Even non-tennis fans got caught up in the excitement because of the record.Tennis is a different game today with the big payouts and professional players, she said. But the part about needing a boost in Canada is similar. Back in the 1960s there were no pro tournaments, only amateur matches. She only played competitively until she was 25.I feel that Bianca was going to win no matter what“Tennis in Canada was having a hard time existing. I remember even many times I’d win fairly major championships in Canada and there’d be no trophies involved.”When she was inducted into the Windsor and Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 Urban was said to have been the best tennis player to ever come out of Windsor. She played singles and doubles and was inducted into Tennis Canada’s Hall of Fame in 1996.The day she won the Canadian Open in 1969 was one of the those days where everything gelled, she recalled. She remembers feeling lucky she was having a good day and relieved since she was ranked number one.
Bianca Andreescu (Canada) kisses the winners trophy after defeating Serena Williams (USA) during the women’s final of the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Aviva Centre.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY /
“It didn’t become important until decades later,” she said as it appeared it would be tough for a Canadian woman to make the final let alone win it.She took up tennis at age seven or eight at her father Archie’s urging. She remembers swinging her racquet at Willistead Park which used to have a tennis court and Jackson Park, and practicing at Assumption College’s handball alleys which meant less time retrieving tennis balls.Urban moved to Toronto, became a teacher and married another former Windsorite Willy Mlacak.Her Canadian Open victory and reaching the women’s quarter finals in doubles at Wimbledon were highlights of her career, she said.Related
Faye Urban, undated photo.