A few common themes have surrounded Bianca Andreescu during her whirlwind 2019 and early part of 2020: her uncanny ability to win, meditation and visualization, and navigating injuries. Steve Weissman and Tracy Austin touched on all three during the Canadian’s appearance on Thursday’s edition of Tennis Channel Live.
From February to September of last year, Andreescu didn’t lose a match when she was healthy enough to step on court, racking up titles at three of the world’s biggest tournaments, Indian Wells, Toronto, and the US Open. Clearly she did not lack for confidence.
"I think it was a buildup of everything I had done leading up to the US Open," Andreescu said of her belief. "Auckland really gave me a boost, I beat a couple of top players. Rogers cup definitely helped me perform well at the US Open too, I had no pressure since I was coming back from a long injury."
Austin, a former world No. 1, gushed in her praise of the young superstar.
"I’m like Andy Roddick, you are my favorite to watch. I love your variety, I love your emotion out there and the athleticism."
Austin and Roddick are not alone, and it's easy to see why. The Canadian owns a calming and positive perspective far beyond most 19-year-olds, if not all of them. Andreescu credits that to her daily meditation and visualization rituals.
"It’s called creative visualization. Picture yourself in a moment in the future, what you want a certain moment to look like," Andreescu said. "For me that was the US Open. I’ve been visualizing that since I was fifteen. It’s funny because I literally wrote myself a winner's check for the year 2019. It’s mind boggling but it shows how effective this technique is. The key is to actually feel yourself in that situation in the future.”
Weissman and Austin would be remiss if they didn’t ask how Andreescu’s left knee was recovering during the downtime. Andreescu had flown to the Palm Desert with an intent to make her season debut by defending her BNP Paribas Open crown, but pulled out shortly before organizers cancelled the tournament due to a local COVID-19 case.
“I was supposed to play Indian Wells but then something happened in practice and we thought it was better to wait instead. I would have been ready for Miami so it’s just bad luck that all of this started during that time. I’m taking this time to fully heal my knee if it wasn’t already 100%, even though I think it was.”
While there's reason to be concerned with her list of battle wounds, a number of current stars faced question marks with injuries early in their careers. Rafael Nadal’s knees weren’t supposed to hold up, but they did. Simona Halep, one of the most consistent performers in recent WTA history, has conquered a number of setbacks throughout her time on tour. Before winning her first Grand Slam, Kim Clijsters missed four majors to nurse health issues.
The injury cloud pinned above Andreescu’s head is understandable, but at just 19 years old, time, and the right mindset, are certainly on her side.
“I’m just gonna keep doing me,” she concluded.