Over Three Months Bianca Andreescu Has Proven She Is The Next Big Thing In Women’s tennis - UBITENNIS
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Over Three Months Bianca Andreescu Has Proven She Is The Next Big Thing In Women’s tennis

The rising star ended 2018 ranked 178th in the world. Now she has won one of the most prestigious tournaments on the WTA Tour.

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Bianca Andreescu (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

If somebody said a year ago that Canada’s Bianca Andreescu would win the Indian Wells title at the age of 18, they would have most likely been called mad.

 

At the time she was ranked outside of the top 200 and battling for points at ITF events across Japan. Even though many knew she was a big talent following a successful junior career, few expected her to rise up the ranks so rapidly. Making her breakout on the pro our in 2019 even more spectacular.

It all started at the ASB Classic in New Zealand at the start of the year. Fighting her way through qualifying, Andreescu stunned the draw with wins over top 10 players Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams. She would go on to reach the final of the tournament before losing to Julia Goerges. Suddenly the WTA Tour was starting to pay attention to the threat posed by the two-time junior grand slam champion in doubles.

Gaining in momentum, Andreescu’s meteoric rise peaked on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open. Accepting a wild card into the tournament, the teenager stunned former world No.1 Angelique Kerber in three sets to win her maiden WTA title. Becoming the first wild card in history to do so and the youngest player since Serena Williams back in 1999.

“I’d like to thank BNP Paribas for giving me this opportunity. Without them I wouldn’t be in this situation right now. I’m beyond grateful for that.” She said during her press conference.
“It’s incredible to have my name beside so many incredible champions. It’s a dream come true.”

The most appealing thing about Andreescu’s game is her ability to mix up her shot selection. Against Kerber, she frustrated her with a combination of delicate drop shots and deep hitting backhands towards the baseline. Preventing Kerber from maintaining her rhythm in the match.

“She played the whole tournament good. I know that I had to play my best tennis. At the end I was not able to take my chances, but she did it.” Kerber said of the Canadian.

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The comparisons

Rightfully describing her journey to the biggest title of her career as a ‘fairytale,’ Andreescu will now have to live up to the expectation and comparisons coming her way. In 2018 at the same tournament it was Naomi Osaka in the limelight. At the same event she won her maiden title on the women’s tour. Osaka would then go on to win back-to-back major titles and become Asia’s first ever No.1 player.

“It’s definitely inspiring seeing her claim the trophy last year and winning two Grand Slams right after that has been amazing to see.” She said of the current No.1.
“I don’t really want to focus on the future right now. I just want to enjoy this moment, because I don’t want to take anything for granted. You never know what next week brings. I just want to savour this.”

One of the most striking things about Andreescu’s play is how mature she appears to be on the court and how well she reads the game. Admittedly against Kerber, there were moments of her having a teenage tantrum. However, she was mainly composed and professional throughout. Contributing to an expanding fan base and praise from top figures in the sport.

One of those admirers is Martina Navratilova. Somebody who is deemed as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. Speaking on BT Sport about the rising star, she drew parallels between her and Andy Murray.

“‘She still has a way to go to play like him but she is definitely on that trajectory.” Said Navratilova.
“She’s got all the goods – she just believes in herself. What she can improve the most is the forehand, it gets a little off when she gets nervous, physical fitness – that will just happen, she’ll become more match tough. ‘She’s got really great hands, knows when to use what shots. Her tennis IQ, shot selection is really outstanding.”

Murray was 21 before he won his first Masters 1000 title. The male equivalent to the Premier Mandatory events on the WTA Tour.

A product of Canada’s rise in the sport

In recent times it has been Andreescu’s compatriot, Milos Raonic, who has been flying the flag for his country in the world on tennis. However, with a rapid rise in teenage stars emerging from the North American country, Andreescu belongs to a group of stars in the making. Alongside Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Growing up the Canadian trained at Tennis Canada’s Regional Training Centre in Toronto and then the National Training Centre in Montreal. In 2017 the federation named her player of the year. Sylvain Bruneau, who is the current head of women’s tennis for Tennis Canada, serves as Andreescu’s coach.

“It’s easy to get distracted,” Bruneau told The New York Times earlier in the week. “But it’s going to be part of my work to make sure she stays in the moment.”

Trying to get the 18-year-old to stay composed may be easier said than done. She exits Indian Wells with a pay cheque of $1.3 million. Rising to a ranking high of 24th after ending 2018 at 178th in the world.

“Everyone’s victory in Canada gives each one of us motivation and inspiration to also do well. If they can do it, we can.” She said.
“I think this win will definitely give many people confidence, young athletes, maybe aspiring athletes also. And I’m just 18, so if I can do it, they can.”

Andreescu is without a doubt a star in the making, but it remains to be seen how great she can become.

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Former No.1 Karolina Pliskova Hits Out At Men Worrying About Equal Pay In Tennis

The world No.4 explains why she personally doesn’t want equal pay on the tour, but criticises those who worry that women players might do so in the future.

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Czech tennis star Karolina Pliskova has labelled men who voice opposition against equal pay as ‘super weak’ as she becomes the latest player to throw her backing behind the possibility of a merger of the two premier tennis Tour’s.

 

Pliskova, who is a former US Open finalist, spoke out about the topic when questioned by the PA Press Agency. In recent weeks there has been growing calls for the ATP and WTA to be merged into one. Support for the idea gained momentum when Roger Federer tweeted his support for it. However the heads of the two governing bodies have already been in discussions about working closer together in some capacity since the start of this year.

Although the prospect of a merger remains low due to the complex process that it would involve, both the ATP and WTA have vowed greater collaboration to help enhance the future of the sport. One of the main talking points behind the calls is pay. There is equal prize money at all of the grand slams, however, it does differ behind the men and women on the Tour. Last year six men earned more than $7 million in prize money compared to one on the WTA Tour (Ash Barty).

Weighing in on the topic, Pliskova has interestingly said that she is not interested in campaigning for her to be paid similar to her male counterparts. Arguing that the two genders should not be compared. However, she has voiced her frustration at those who are against the concept of equal pay.

“I don’t think so and I am not the one who wants it. But I don’t like the men who are complaining that we would get the same money. I think it is super weak from them that they complain we have the same money as them,” she said.
“The only time it is true is at grand slams. I understand they play longer, but they are men. They are stronger than us. I don’t see the reason why we should compare each other. I don’t need to have the same prize money as men. But to have the same chance to play on centre court or to have the same chance to be on TV, that should be possible with these changes.”

As of March 20th Pliskova has made $19,997,689 in prize money throughout her career, which is the 19th highest tally in the history of women’s tennis.

Speaking more specifically about a possible merger, the 28-year-old believes it would help enhance the women’s tour. Although she is staying cautious about the prospect of such a thing happening in the future.

“I think for the women’s tour it can only help. I don’t know exactly what they are discussing but if there is any chance to say yes, then I would say yes,” Pliskova said.
“It needs to be positive also for the ATP so they need to find a balance so it is a forward step for both. It might take a couple of years to get going. It will be different, but I don’t think for the players it would change that much. It would be a good step.”

Pliskova is currently ranked third in the WTA rankings and has won 16 WTA titles. She is set to return to action next week at the LiveScore Cup in Prague.

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Injury Scare Fails To Derail Petra Kvitova From Winning ‘Bizarre’ All-Czech Tennis Event

The world No.12 speaks out about the unusual circumstances she was playing in earlier this week as she sheds light on a recent injury issue she has been dealing with.

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During what was meant to be the first week of the French Open Petra Kvitova is still winning matches albeit in very different circumstances.

 

With professional tennis still halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two-time Wimbledon champion was one of the headline acts at the CTS President’s Cup earlier this week. A Three-day event that features eight men and eight women taking part in a all-Czech tournament. Umpires and ball boys had to wear face masks and there was limited spacing for spectators to watch from the sidelines with organizers mindful of social distancing.

“The gloves, face masks, the fact nobody handed us the towels, no handshakes, that was definitely bizarre,” said Kvitova.
“And playing without people, the atmosphere was not exactly what we are used to.”

Despite the unusual circumstances, it failed to prevent Kvitova for winning the event on Thursday. During a rain-interrupted final she saw off Wimbledon quarter-finalist Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-3. Earlier in the event she also scored wins over former world No.1 doubles player Kateřina Siniaková (7-5, 6-4) and Barbora Krejčíková (7-6, 6-2).

The trio of victories came only days after there was concern if Kvitova would be able to play at all. Leading into the tournament the Czech started to feel pain in her forearm, but was later given the all clear by her doctor. Speaking to reporters, she said the pain she felt was similar to what occurred this time last year when she was forced to withdraw from the French Open.

“Two days before the start of the tournament, my forearm started to stiffen, similar to last year before the French Open,” the 30-year-old explained.
“That’s why I didn’t train on Monday. I was waiting for Mr. Kolář’s verdict, but he said that I would be able to do it (play) in some way.”

Now her first taste of competitive tennis in over three months has concluded, Kvitova has relished the experience. It is still unclear as to when the WTA Tour will resume. At present the suspension is until July 31st. In recent days both the US Open and French Open have said they are optimistic that their events will be able to go ahead later this year in some capacity.

“Given the circumstances and the pandemic, it was a wonderful tournament,” Kvitova stated.

Whilst officials ponder when to restart the sport, Kvitova plans to take some time resting her hand in order to prevent aggravating it further.

“I’ll definitely feel my hand for a few days now, but I’ll take time off, there’s no hurry,” she concluded.

In the men’s final world No.450 Michael Vrbensky, who shocked top seed Jiri Vesely in the first round, won the title.

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Ice Hockey Great Gretzky Heaps Praise On ‘Truly Remarkable’ Bianca Andreescu

The tennis star has been branded a ‘hero’ for children in Canada by one of her country’s sporting icons.

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Reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has been praised for her work ethic by one of Canada’s greatest ice hockey players of all time.

 

Wayne Gretzky said he has been impressed with the world No.6 ever since watching her breakthrough run at the BNP Paribas Open last year. Where Andreescu defeated five seeded players en route to the title. At the time she was only able to enter the main draw of the event with the help of a wild card. Last year Andreescu scored eight wins over top 10 players and claimed three titles overall. Including her maiden grand slam at Flushing Meadows.

Speaking on Tennis United, Gretzy has hailed the 19-year-old for how she has been able to handle the pressure placed upon her at such a young age. Andreescu have already achieved a series of milestones for Canadian Tennis. Including being the first to win a grand slam title in singles and the highest ranked female player from Canada in WTA history.

“I remember watching her first match [at Indian Wells] and thinking that’s one of the hardest working athletes I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Gretzky.
“She went on to win the tournament and then, at the US Open, to play in front of all those fans and everyone cheering the American girl (Serena Williams) – and one of the greatest athletes of all time – was pretty special. My hat goes off to her for how she handled herself and how she handled the pressure.”

Gretzky is particularly impressed with how the tennis star has coped with life in the public eye and dealing with the media. Something he has plenty of experience in. Gretzky, who played in the NHL for 20 seasons, has been labelled as the “the greatest hockey player ever” by many pundits. The four-time Stanley Cup winner has scored 894 goals in the NHL which is 93 more than any other player in history.

“The thing that impressed me most about her – and I’ve said this to a lot of people – is not how good she is or how hard she works but how she handles herself with the media. She handled herself with such poise, she was so humble, so appreciative,” he said.
“I don’t think we could have a better hero in our country for young kids. She’s truly remarkable and deserves all the credit she’s getting.”

Andreescu hasn’t played a match since the WTA Finals last November due to a knee injury. She is set to return to action next month at a 16-player event set up in Charleston. The Credit One Bank Invitational, which is taking place during the Tour shutdown, will begin on June 23rd.

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