A Star is Born
At only 18 years old, teenage prodigy Bianca Andreescu has had an eventful start to her 2019 as she made history, becoming the first Canadian to win a Premier Mandatory singles title. She earned victories over former Grand Slam winners, Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams, and Caroline Wozniacki, and has jumped over 100 spots in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings.
Inspired by former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters, Andreescu first picked up a racket at age 7 during one of her parents’ business retreats to their home country of Romania. “I remember it was beside my house by some rusty clay courts, and I was hitting with my dad. I remember I was really enjoying it,” she recalls. Andreescu’s family alternated between Romania and Canada for two years, spending winters in the latter, which helped her mature at a young age (“Traveling around the world really gives you a good sense of knowledge [and] open-mindedness”). However, since she realized she would not have had the same opportunities to pursue her goals in Romania, at the age of 10, she made the permanent move to her birth nation and soon joined Tennis Canada's U14 National Training Centre in Toronto.
After a successful junior tournament in France (she won the prestigious 14-under title at Les Petit As), she opened the door to possibly turning professional. Despite being only 14 at the time, she had gotten a taste of the touring circuit and liked the way she handled herself. “At that tournament, at such a young age, you would be signing autographs and giving interviews, and it was a really good experience,” says Andreescu, who won her first professional title in 2016 at the Gatineau 25K tournament.
Now, as one of the 25 highest-ranked players in the world, Andreescu’s game has matured, and so has her preparation. “When I’m on [the] court, I just want to focus on what’s happening in the present moment,” she says. “I think that’s the hardest part, but I’ve been working a lot on that mental strength.” Naturally, her success has come with increased media attention, an experience she describes as “overwhelming,” while she has gotten slightly more comfortable with the extra recognition. “I try not to really focus on all of that because I know fame can change people,” she affirms. “I try not to think about it.”
She’d rather think about her goals as Andreescu hopes to one day be the number-one-ranked player in the world, while being an inspiration for the younger generation set to come after her: “It gives me another purpose to be good in this sport. I’ve been getting a lot of messages from kids that picked up a racket because they saw me win Indian Wells, and that’s just amazing.”
Writer: Alain Clerine
Photographer: Jeff Hui
Stylist: Nelly Akbari
Hair & Makeup: Aniko Tar
Videographer: Jason Fung
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Gare de l'Est Brasserie (@gdlbrasserie - www.gdlbrasserie.com)