- 09 Sep 2019
Flushing Meadows is all but empty, the fans that bayed for Bianca Andreescu’s demise in the second set have long departed and, in the players’ lounge in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the US Open champion is at ease and very much excited.
Andreescu is excited not because she’s still revelling in winning her first grand slam title, though that is unquestionably also the case. Instead the 19-year-old is abuzz because she is sat around a table with a group of reporters and has just been asked if she has recommendations for self-help books.
“Where’s my phone?!” she enthusiastically shouts. “I have all the books I’ve read on my phone.”
After that extremely modern statement, Andreescu is handed her phone and frantically scrolls through her reading list in search of a book she cannot remember the name of.
“Code of the Extraordinary Mind!” Andreescu exclaims after locating the title of the 2016 work by Vishen Lakhiani.
Lakhiani and various other self-help authors may expect a significant bump in their sales following Andreescu’s victory in New York.
There can be fewer greater endorsements than surviving a second-set comeback from Serena Williams in a major final in front of a crowd providing ear-splitting support for the 23-time grand slam champion, who powered back from 5-1 down in the second to level things up at 5-5.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) September 8, 2019
“I couldn’t hear myself think at that point,” said Andreescu. “I was just in awe of how loud the US Open crowd can get, it was crazy but I was glad I witnessed that because that’s what makes this tournament so special.
“At that point you can only try to focus on the things you can control, and that was my attitude towards it and I just kept my composure, which is why I think I dealt with that scenario really well.”
The teenager dealt with it impeccably, holding serve to check Williams’ momentum before finding huge success with the forehand in the most important game of the match to break the American and become Canada’s first grand slam singles champion.
Following such an incredible show of character, motivational speakers and self-help authors all over the globe may be using Andreescu’s example to inspire others, with her journey from oft-injured player who failed to qualify for the 2018 US Open to grand slam champion a testament to the power of belief and perseverance.
“In my short career I’ve been through a lot injury-wise, those moments weren’t easy for me because I just kept getting injured,” Andreescu explained. “At one point I didn’t have much faith in myself but I have an amazing team around me, including my parents. I think my parents are my biggest inspiration and biggest motivation because they’ve believed in me since day one.
“Without them I wouldn’t have gotten through those periods like I did, so I’m truly thankful for that, and also it’s part of life going through tough situations like that. It’s not always going to be butterflies and rainbows, I just tried to embrace it as much I could.
“I tried to learn different things about myself and just about how I can get better as a player and as a person. I really believed there were gonna be good times ahead because I think when you believe in that, all those tough times are worth it.”
— WTA (@WTA) September 8, 2019
Now she has a spectacular reward for getting through those tough times, and Andreescu knows she has nothing to fear having avoided the devastation of defeat after spurning two chances to serve it out against Williams.
Asked if she had come through the most difficult test she will ever face on a tennis court, Andreescu replied: “I think so. Being in the final against Serena Williams and then actually winning it is crazy.
“I’ve looked up to her and now actually winning the tournament, I’ve always thought I could but it actually happening is just so crazy.
“I don’t think I’ve lost a match since March so my confidence is just skyrocketing right now, I just don’t want to take anything for granted because there’s gonna be weeks where you’re going to lose, so right now I’m on cloud nine and hopefully I can just keep the momentum going.
“When I play my game nobody really likes that because I play a lot different than other players on tour, I like to change up the rhythm and I’ve always been like that, so I just kept improving it, that’s what I’ve been doing this whole year and I think that’s why I’ve been doing really well.
“I’ve always had a lot of tools in my toolbox, but the goal for me now is to choose the right shots to hit at the right times.”
That is a scary sentence for the rest of the WTA Tour to read. Self-help books, her parents and her own focus and belief helped Andreescu hone the tool that was most important on Saturday, her fortitude. Once she fine-tunes the rest of her significant arsenal, Andreescu’s rivals will need all the help they can get to stop her becoming the dominant force in the women’s game.