The Bianca Andreescu Extra Break from Tennis Has Helped Her Well

ROME – The first Italian Open match for Bianca Andreescu had just come to light in the quarter-finals against Iga Swiatek, a motorcycle star who pretended to be a tennis star.

But even after failing to stop top-ranked Swiatek from continuing his winning streak to 26 matches, Andreescu still sat in the Roman sunlight with a wide smile on his face.

Victory at this stage does not have the same edge that failure has had in other phases of his career.

“Honestly, I was just encouraged to go back there and play with him again,” Andreescu said in an interview after the loss, 7-6 (2), 6-0, on Friday. “Looking back over the past year, there has been a lot of progress in how I deal with getting back on tour and my victories and losses. I just have a lot of motivation. I want to go back to court right now and work harder.”

Andreescu, a 21-year-old Canadian from the suburbs of Toronto, remains one of the biggest talents in tennis, which he unveiled in 2019 by winning the US Open women’s title in his first attempt, beating Serena Williams in straight sets .

Listed in the top 4 in his career the following month, he will be number 72 on Monday but still has that impressive combination of fine and fist and rare ability to change gears and rotations. He also has strong legs reminiscent of his model Kim Clijsters which helps him cover the court with a blast and produce great speed despite the inability of the tallest players (he is 5-6 feet).

“There is no shot that he can’t shoot,” said Daniela Hantuchová, an analyst and former top five player who was commenting in court on Friday when Andreescu and Swiatek played on tour for the first time.

“In that first set, Bianca was not far from her highest level,” Hantuchová said. “For me, that was the best tennis set in women’s competition so far. Somehow, it almost feels like a mirror against the mirror. They have a different approach, but they have their own order between points mentally, and they wisely know what they’re trying to do there. “They are both good athletes, and I kept saying during the match that I hope we will see this match more often. It will be a wonderful competition to have.”

But so far, Andreescu, unlike 20-year-old Swiatek, has been a temporary threat. There have been a series of injuries, long-term job worries, and most recently a weakness that has pushed him to take his most recent break after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., October 2021, before returning to the festival. Stuttgart tournament last month.

She spent her spare time doing community service, volunteering at a children’s hospital and shelter for victims of domestic violence. He went to a health resort in Costa Rica and aimed to develop more intellectual tools to complete the visual and reflective work that he, like Swiatek, began during his youth career and cited as one of the keys to his early success, if they are done regularly. .

“After Indian Wells, I agreed, like, I didn’t want to play again,” he said. “I don’t know if I was playing too much, but that’s what I was feeling at the time. it was my calling, and so I felt very empowered, and that was a big step for me to take more control over my life and not just put pressure on myself and have fun.

“During that break, I basically did everything I wanted to do, and I told myself if I came back, I wanted to be in the same perspective. to lose instead of crawling on my bed and just crying. last night, what I was doing last year. ”

Andreescu, like fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka and other prominent athletes of their generation, has been outspoken about the mental health challenges she faces. Three tournaments after his recent return, Andreescu is in the best position and will enter the French Open with a red clay pace that suits his various sports.

She arrived at the Friday interview without any tape on her body or ice packs.

“Nothing,” he said. “I am very grateful for my body, because that has been a great challenge. But I consider myself a good court player if I continue to do well and work hard in practice and confidence.”

The challenge on the tour – a 10-month trial of patience and resilience – is to maintain health and enthusiasm.

His team, led by veteran coach Sven Groeneveld, aims to keep him clean and, according to Andreescu, also call them idiots.

“They can call me without me defending myself, and I think that helps a lot,” he said.

Groeneveld, whose highest-ranking student in recent years was now retired Maria Sharapova, declined to comment on Andreescu because they were “still too early” in their relationship. But he has a systematic view of his career, stays away from matches during matches and identifies points with points as well as key playing patterns and other factors, including a lack of player focus.

“He could write like 10 books with all the details he writes. It’s fun,” Andreescu said.

Andreescu, as Canada’s first and only singles champion Grand Slam, already owns a book about her called “Bianca Andreescu: She the North,” published in 2019, and has written her own, illustrated photo book published last year under the name ” Bibi’s Got “. Game: Tales about Tennis, Meditation with a Dog named Coco.

But with the surprise retirement of defending Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Ashleigh Barty earlier this season, women’s sport officials can only hope that Andreescu’s tennis story begins.

He has a game of offshore as it was clear to Hantuchová and anyone else who watched the opening match on Friday before Swiatek hit a gear that Andreescu was not ready to match, at least not yet.

“He got the confidence from that first set,” Andreescu said. “I tried to be more aggressive, but at least in the second set I missed an inch. But he’s in a series of 25 matches, do those 26 now, for some reason.

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