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Canadian Tennis Star Bianca Andreescu on Her Pre-match Rituals

The tennis prodigy opens up about her rise to fame and her style of play.

Bianca Andreescu

At the start of the year, Bianca Andreescu was 152nd in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, and largely unknown. But just four days into January she made headlines after defeating Venus Williams at the ASB Classic in Auckland. Then in March, the Mississauga-born player, who turns 19 this month, claimed her first WTA title at Indian Wells in California, becoming the youngest woman to win the tournament since Serena Williams in 1999. We spoke with the rising tennis sensation right before she competed at the Miami Open.

Scrunch, roll, fold or stuff?
I’m a folder – I find that I can fit the most in my luggage this way.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?
I meditate for 10 minutes, which helps me to get centred, calm down and forget about my surroundings. I prep my rackets and speak with my coach about what tactics I should perform during the match. One superstition I have is that I always wash my hands before I head onto the court. I also use my lucky Canadian-flag racket dampener.

How would you describe your style of play?
People say I have a lot of tools in my tool box, which means that I can slice, drop shot, come to the net, hit high balls and fast balls, ascend – all of that. Sometimes it’s hard to hit the right shot at the right time because I have all of these shots I can hit, but I’ve been working on that and it’s been showing in my matches. I want to be described as someone who has an all-around game, who’s strong mentally, physically and tactically.

#BiancaRising was trending after Indian Wells. How does it feel to be the focus of so much attention?
It’s overwhelming, but it’s a dream come true to have my name alongside so many champions and for some of them to actually recognize me. And I’m going to set new goals and standards, so this is definitely not the last time you’re going to hear about me.

What's in the bag of Bianca Andreescu

I travel with a different book to every tournament. I like thrillers, biographies, true stories and self-help books. I’m currently reading Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

I usually bring four identical Head rackets to tournaments. I’ve been with Head since I was 12, most of my career.

This brain laptop case caught my eye as soon as I saw it. Ever since I learned the saying “You create your own reality,” and have seen it play out in my own life, both on and off the court, I have been fascinated with the mind.

Music is one of my passions. I use my AirPods to get pumped before going on the court. My hype songs right now are “wokeuplikethis*” by Playboi Carti, “Nonstop” by Drake and “Ric Flair Drip” by Offset.

I’m a germophobe! I always have a bottle on me and it comes in handy in restaurants, hotel rooms and after the gym.

These are my favourite street shoes. I change into them right after I get off the court.

If I’m feeling really nervous before a match, I’ll play cards with whoever is with me, either my coach, my parents or my friends. I’m a boss at Crazy Eights.

I found this penny on the court right before I competed at Les Petits As, the first major tournament that I won, at 13. I remember thinking, “This is a sign, I’m definitely keeping this.” It’s always in my tennis bag.