INDIAN WELLS, Calif.—Bianca Andreescu says she likes the big stage, and if her play this season is any indication, the 18-year-old Canadian should soon be on it regularly.
Andreescu is 23-3 this season across all levels of play, and has picked up wins against Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and fellow Canadian Eugenie Bouchard to get from No. 152 to No. 60 in the rankings. This week, she's into the third round of Indian Wells, defeating Dominika Cibulkova in her last match.
But the teenager has attracted almost as much attention for her unusual style of play, producing variety, spin and touch along with big groundstrokes. She plans to keep mixing up her shots.
"Even when girls do it to me I hate it, so I try to do that,'' Andreescu said. "And especially since most of the girls on tour are big hitters, I think that's something unique in my game that I want to keep building."
Andreescu has reached the final of Auckland and the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier, won the Newport Beach ITF event and reached the semifinals of Acapulco.
Other players have taken note.
"I'm starting to make a name [for] myself, and I'm starting to play big tournaments where they can have footage of me playing on YouTube, or whatever, because that's what I do with all the other players," she said. "I study them beforehand, so I'm sure they're doing the same."
But Andreescu has confidence in her ability to keep up as she moves through the ranks.
"I'm just going to keep improving my game, because I really think my game can hurt a lot of players. And I really enjoy playing like this, I enjoy mixing the rhythm, and making the crowd go 'Wow,' because I'm hitting all these weird shots sometimes, which is really nice," she said, though adding that it can also be challenging to play that way.
"I know a lot of the players are pretty consistent, and I want to strive to be like that, or maybe even better. And hitting the right shot at the right time. I have a lot of tools, and I'll hit the wrong shot at the wrong time. But it's getting better."
Still new to the WTA tour, the junior champion also has to work on getting to know more players in the locker room.
"I'm pretty friendly with everyone, but everyone's just kind of in their own clique right now. But I feel like if I play their tournaments more often, I'll have my own clique,'' she said, laughing.
But she already feels at home on the big courts against the top players.
"It's definitely something I like to play on, the big stages and all of that, hearing the crowd call your name, and having that extra support," she said, adding that she's the same way off the court. "If I'm in a group, I'm always the one making conversation, and making people laugh."
Andreescu is the highest-ranked Canadian on the WTA tour.