It is hard to imagine Canadian tennis fans not knowing the name “Bianca Andreescu,” after this week. At 18 years old, she entered the coveted BNP Paribas Open as a wildcard. Now, she walks away from Indian Wells a newly crowned champion. With Andreescu’s 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory over three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, the Canadian has now achieved the stardom every young tennis player dreams of.
“Anything is possible. I think I proved that today,” said Andreescu after her win.
Andreescu’s Success Marks a Stunning Transformation From a Year Ago
The success at the BNP Paribas Open for Bianca Andreescu was far from what she was experiencing a year ago. The Canadian was playing primarily on the ITF tour. She was ranked 198th in the world, trying to find an answer that was hindering her tennis progress.
“I was actually struggling a lot with my tennis,” Andreescu stated. “I was losing matches a year ago, and I wasn’t really in a good spot. But I worked around it and I learned a lot from all those experiences. I don’t necessarily think it’s anything bad.”
But those who have followed Andreescu over the years are aware that it was a matter of time before her preordained talent would turn into tangible results. In 2017, Andreescu was awarded the 2017 Tennis Canada Player of the Year. Playing alongside American Carson Branstine, Andreescu would win two doubles Grand Slam titles in Australia and Paris, two ITF tournaments in America and Italy, while going 6-0 in her professional Fed Cup debut. With the advice of fellow Romanian copatriot Simona Halep, Andreescu would transition to the pro circuit in 2018.
“I am satisfied with my accomplishments so far, but I can honestly tell you that the learning curve was very intense and steep. You have to be at the top of your game to compete week in and week out. There are no easy matches or easy tournaments. I believe that conditioning and mental preparation [for me] will be critical moving forward,” stated Andreescu.
Andreescu Credits Relationship with Coach for Becoming a Star
In 2019, her triumph at Indian Wells is a far cry from the feelings of adversity she was experiencing a year ago. Andreescu credits the collaborative relationship with her coach, Sylvain Bruneau, to get her over the hurdle to be in the best physical and mental shape of her career.
“I just tried to gain as much experience as I can from those situations, and everything that I have learned in the past couple years I have implemented and I keep implementing,” says Andreescu.
A crucial routine that Andreescu and Bruneau work on before matches is meditation. Implementing the practice of mindfulness, the 18-year-old visualizes what success looks like, to give her the confidence necessary to overpower her opponents.
“Meditation is one big thing that I have been doing that’s really been helping me stay focused and positive,” Andreescu explained. “And also, all the work I put in on the court with my coaches, all the things I do for recovery is really important for me, and right now I think I’m in the best shape I have ever been. I’m healthy.”
“Overall, Bianca has a game that can be a little different from most players,” Bruneau said. “She is able to do a lot with the ball, she can bring a lot of variations that sometimes push her opponents to lose their rhythm a bit, to make unusual mistakes.”
Andreescu Showcases Toughness in Victory over Kerber
At the BNP Paribas Open, Andreescu has defeated the top players in the world. Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza was throttled 6-0, 6-1 at the hands of the Canadian. Andreescu had to battle from being down a break in the third set in the semifinals to last year’s WTA season-ending champion Elina Svitolina, eventually winning 6-3 2-6 6-4.
In the final against Kerber, there were moments where Andreescu could have quit. But she never did. The higher stakes moment predicated a greater level of tennis. When Kerber broke Andreescu in the third set, she raised her level, despite feeling physically and emotionally drained. She showcased her powerful groundstrokes and conquered the adversity of the moment and delivering one of the greatest stories in Canadian sports of 2019.
“I’m so, so thankful for this moment… It was one of the toughest matches I ever played… It’s just so incredible, so incredible,” exclaimed Andreescu.
The Future is Bright for Young Bianca
Tennis in Canada has experienced a remarkable shift in accomplishments. You can add Bianca Andreescu to the list of Canadian tennis splendor, consisting of Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov, and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Andreescu’s astonishing result at Indian Wells is a huge part of a successful 2019. From making the final of Auckland, to qualifying into her first singles Australian Open and winning her first WTA tournament at Newport, no task seems daunting now for Andreescu.
The BNP Paribas Open outcome launches Andreescu to 24th in the world. With no points to defend in the subsequent tournaments, the Canadian will get to experience the sensation of automatic qualification into the main draws. When she arrives back to her home of Mississauga, Ontario, Andreescu will now be a household name in Canadian tennis.
But the journey to this point has made Bianca wise beyond her years. No stage or moment appears to be too immense for the teenager. Her persona is one that epitomizes the youthful energy and joy of someone who has a deep passion for tennis.
“A goal of mine was to make history and I just did. It’s incredible,” she said.
And coach Bruneau affirms that this won’t be the last time you will see Bianca.
“She is arriving suddenly on the scene, drawing a lot of attention, but I have to admit that we are trying — Bianca first, and that’s what’s important — to stay grounded,” Bruneau stated.
“We have to avoid getting too excited and take it day to day. What I can say is that she has a very, very high potential. She recently shown her talent, her tennis, her abilities. But this is only the beginning.”
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