March 17

Bianca Andreescu hopes her BNP Paribas Open title win can be an inspiration for other young athletes. The 18-year-old, who will compete in Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in August, became the first Canadian to win a WTA Premier Mandatory championship and the youngest player to win at Indian Wells since Serena Williams 20 years ago.

“Hopefully this moment can be a great inspiration for young athletes because, like I always say, if you believe in yourself anything is possible,” she said on-court, following her 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Angelique Kerber.

“And like my mum always told me throughout the years ‘if you work hard, you dream big to get big, then you can accomplish so many things’ and that’s what I’ve been doing throughout many years and now this moment has become a reality so it’s really, really crazy.”

Andreescu had to dig deep to ensure her remarkable run to the final was capped off with the trophy. Kerber, 31 – a three-time Grand Slam winner – was as tough an opponent as the teenager has faced throughout the tournament.

“I’d like to thank Angelique Kerber for an amazing tournament,” Andreescu said of her fellow finalist. “It was amazing to share the court with you today, you are an incredible champion and an inspiration.”

During the match, Andreescu called on her coach Sylvain Bruneau for advice. Those conversations seemed to provide the 18-year-old with a new lease of life, giving her the confidence to go on and win the trophy.

“That moment was everything to me. He really helped me in that moment with such incredible words,” she said of the pep-talk Bruneau gave her. “The way he says things really gives me chills. I’m glad I called him at that moment. At that point I was really, really tired but I was like mind over matter and that’s what helped me win today.”

Following the on-court celebrations, Andreescu spoke to the media and discussed the surreal moments in the locker room after her victory. She said: “I was actually really dizzy in the locker room because there were so many thoughts, so many emotions going through my body.

“I had a good ice bath which I think calmed me down a bit. But, yeah, it’s just been a crazy ride, truly a Cinderella story. Naomi (Osaka) did it last year and now to have my name in front of so many amazing champions, it means the world to me.”

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(Feature photo: Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)