Eugenie Bouchard, Françoise Abanda, Charlotte Robillard-Millette, and Katherine Sebov have established themselves as the present and future of women’s tennis in Canada. Now, a fifth name can be added to the group with the emergence of 14-year-old Bianca Andreescu.
Andreescu finished the 2014 season ranked No. 332 on the ITF junior rankings and now, just five months later, she is the youngest player (14 years, 11 months) ranked in the Top 60 at No. 54. Andreescu has a remarkable 32-7 record in singles and doubles since January, including three titles and three finals. Most weeks, she is beating players three or four years her senior.
“I have really improved my mental and physical strength this year,” Andresscu said. “This really helps me win matches because I am focused, positive, and believe in myself on and off the court. My fitness helps me sustain myself through tough matches and long points.”
Born in Mississauga, Ontario, Andreescu moved to her parents’ native country of Romania as a child and she started playing tennis at 7 years old. Her first coach was a friend of her dad’s and she would hit with his son Radu after school. She tried soccer, skating, swimming, and gymnastics before settling on tennis as her sport of choice. Andreescu and her family eventually moved back to Canada where she would train at the Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga before joining Tennis Canada’s U14 National Training Centre at Rexall Centre in Toronto.
This year, Andreescu has had the chance to work with former Wimbledon finalist Nathalie Tauziat, former coach of Bouchard and Aleksandra Wozniak.
“Having Nathalie by my side has been such a blessing! She’s really nice, very upbeat, funny and she cares about me,” Andreescu beamed. “She is there to improve my game at all levels. I feel that we connect and understand each other well.”
As for her tennis influences, it is no surprise that Andreescu is inspired by another player with Romanian roots.
“My favourite player at the moment would be Simona Halep. I like her because many people say I have a similar game style, and I love the determination she plays with. I want to model my game after her.”
In January of 2014, Andreescu became the third Canadian to win the “Petits As” tournament, which is the biggest U14 tournament in the world. While she has already accomplished a great deal this year, the motivated teen still has lofty goals for 2015 including winning a junior Grand Slam and becoming a top three junior in the world.
Not too bad for someone who is still one month away from celebrating her fifteenth birthday.