Largely unknown beyond dedicated tennis circles at the beginning of this year, Bianca Andreescu exploded onto the scene to become one of the biggest stars of women’s tennis in 2019.
The Canadian teenager cracked the top five after a stunning season in which she won her first three tour-level titles — at Indian Wells, Toronto and the US Open, no less.
The win at Flushing Meadows was especially resounding, with the 19-year-old overwhelming all-time great Serena Williams to capture her first Grand Slam title.
Just 11 months earlier, she had been ranked No.243.
We spoke to Andreescu at the China Open in Beijing — where she went on to reach the quarterfinals before going down in a memorable three-setter to Naomi Osaka* — about her spectacular rise, adjusting to life on the elite tour, and much more.
Tennismash: One of the more notable things about your rapid rise has been the remarkable statistics associated with it. You’re 8-0 against the top 10*. You won your first major title in just your fourth Grand Slam main draw. You went from outside the top 200 to inside the top five within a year. You haven’t lost a completed match since March*. Which of these stats are you most proud of?
Bianca Andreescu: “I think it’s my win streak. I saw something on twitter, I think WTA Insider posted this — and said that Serena has the most, which was back in 2015, 19 (matches), and if I win this tournament, I would be at 20. But now I’m still at 17, that’s pretty damn good. That’s pretty cool. (I like this one) because you’re always gonna lose. It’s rare that you always win. So I don’t wanna take anything for granted right now. I don’t think I’ve ever had a win streak that long, even on the ITF Tour. But being able to have it on the WTA tour is just incredible. Especially being out for like three or four months with an injury and coming back and accomplishing that, I think that’s very impressive. That’s the one that stands out.”
Serena referred to you as an ‘old soul’ and had some lovely things to say about you after both your finals in Toronto and the US Open. Were you aware of this?
“She’s a very nice person. After the final at the US Open she came up to me in the locker room and she said really nice things about me, and I said really nice things about her as well (smiling) … even though she’s heard it so many times. But yeah. It was a nice encounter.”
“My relationship with my Dad is very good. He’s been there for me forever, and he’s supported my dreams all the time. He was actually the most calm after I would lose matches as a junior, so I’d always go to him after my matches to talk, not to my mom (laughter). He’s also very composed … same with my mom, though, surprisingly. She’s learning. My dad has many good traits: he’s very strong mentally, so I think I get that from him. And he’s taught me so much from a young age. I don’t know if I’d say I’m a mommy’s girl or a daddy’s girl (smiling). I think I’m both. I’ve learned so much from both.”
Where does tennis rate in terms of popularity in Canada these days?
“I think hockey is still the No.1 sport. Hockey, baseball, basketball would be up there. And I think tennis is starting to get up there, especially after what Genie (Bouchard) and Milos (Raonic) have accomplished at Wimbledon, and then now me, Felix (Auger-Aliassime), Denis (Shapovalov), Gabi (Dabrowski) — she won her first Grand Slam doubles title. So I think it’s getting up there, which is nice. It’s getting way more coverage on TV as well which is really good. It’s such a beautiful sport, it’s a lifetime sport, anyone can play.”
Given this has been your first full season playing predominantly WTA events, how would you say you’ve enjoyed, or adjusted to, life on tour?
“I love it. I love it more than the ITF circuit (laughter). I think because you stay at nicer hotels, you play bigger events, there’s more coverage, you play on bigger stages. It’s been good. (But) it’s tough, because it’s day in, day out.”
*this interview was conducted after Andreescu won her third-round match at the China Open over Jennifer Brady.
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