The ace up Toronto’s sleeve

Lo­cal ten­nis prodigy Bianca An­dreescu, raised on a steady diet of Eu­ge­nie Bouchard and Mi­los Raonic, is not mod­est about her goals. World. Ten­nis. Dom­i­na­tion. It starts this month at Rogers Cup in Toronto

Midtown Post - - News - by Ron John­son

Mi­los Raonic is a per­ma­nent fix­ture amongst the world’s top ten­nis play­ers. Eu­ge­nie Bouchard is a peren­nial favourite and on the come­back trail. But things move quickly, and it could be time for the next gen­er­a­tion of Cana­dian ten­nis stars to move into the spot­light led by lo­cals Bianca An­dreescu (and De­nis Shapo­valov). An­dreescu — the youngest player in the top 200 pro­fes­sional rank­ings — is back in Toronto this month ready to make a home­town splash at Rogers Cup, Aug. 5 to 13.

You were the high­est rank 16-year-old in the world. Not a bad way to start your ca­reer.

It means a lot. I’m very proud of my­self. I’ve been work­ing hard, putting in the hours to get where I am right now, and I think I’m at a re­ally good stage.

You made your Wim­ble­don de­but last month. It must have been spe­cial.

I mean, I have no words when I qual­i­fied for Wim­ble­don. It was just so amaz­ing be­ing there with all the pros. The first round was re­ally tough, but it all comes with ex­pe­ri­ence, so I’m just go­ing to take it as a les­son and move for­ward.

What’s the dif­fer­ence when com­pared to your time as a ju­nior?

With the ju­niors, it’s re­ally dif­fer­ent. The pros give no points away. The ju­niors, you can slide off a cou­ple and get it back. But you al­ways have to be on with the pros.

Are you ex­cited about play­ing in the main draw this month in front of your fans?

It’s go­ing to be re­ally fun to play in my home­town where I train. Ob­vi­ously, my goal is to do re­ally well here. So I’m just go­ing to go out there and en­joy the mo­ment and see how that goes.

Have you played at a tour­na­ment of this mag­ni­tude at home be­fore?

I played Rogers Cup two years ago in the qual­i­fiers, and a lot of peo­ple came to watch, and that was a re­ally fun ex­pe­ri­ence.

You were there along­side an­other teen phenom, De­nis Shapo­valov. Did you hatch plans to dom­i­nate ten­nis?

We didn’t re­ally get the chance to see each other, to be hon­est, but of course, for Cana­dian ten­nis, it’s amaz­ing. We al­ways mo­ti­vate each other to do bet­ter, and that’s re­ally help­ing right now.

To whom would you say your game is most com­pa­ra­ble?

Si­mona Halep. I re­ally ad­mire her as a player and as a per­son. I got the chance to talk to her and be with her at Rogers Cup in Mon­treal last year. We did a thing with the kids at the Olympic Sta­dium. We have a

sim­i­lar style, and I try to model my game af­ter her.

And where do you want your ca­reer to be in, say, five years?

Top 10 for sure and win­ning a grand slam.

What first piqued your in­ter­est in ten­nis?

When I was younger, I was a pretty ac­tive child and tried many sports. My par­ents put me in ten­nis one day, and I’ve loved it ever since.

Why did ten­nis click?

I’m not re­ally sure why, but now I just love ev­ery­thing about it — trav­el­ling around the world, push­ing my­self, and the feel­ing of win­ning is amaz­ing.

What did you have to sac­ri­fice to get in this po­si­tion?

I would say, for sure, be­ing with my friends and fam­ily at home as well as my school. I only do on­line. When I’m home, I try to see the teacher, but I’ve never had that high school ex­pe­ri­ence. But that’s all part of it.

What do you like to do for fun at home?

When I’m not on tour, I al­ways try to find time for my friends. I love to hang out with them, and I’m very ad­ven­tur­ous, so I like to go golf­ing, swim, hike, and I love go­ing to con­certs.

Where are you hap­pi­est?

For sure on the ten­nis court some­where nice, maybe Monaco or Monte Carlo, train­ing on the clay.

And what do you want to do with your ca­reer?

To make Cana­dian his­tory, to be on the Fed Cup team [Fed Cup is the premier in­ter­na­tional team com­pe­ti­tion in women’s ten­nis] and be­come num­ber one in the world.

What’s been the high­light so far?

I would say, play­ing Fed Cup for the first time in Mon­treal with the team. And be­ing in the main draw at Wim­ble­don.

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