PARIS | Every time a player has to face a major tournament champion, she takes her game up a notch. That's what Bianca Andreescu has to deal with every time she steps on the tennis court.
“I go to see the matches of her opponents and I say to myself: 'Okay here, that's what she does”, says the coach of the Canadian, Christophe Lambert. But when they arrive against Bianca, they raise their level. They are motivated because they want to have the scalp of a champion.”
“For Bianca, it's difficult because she has gone from being a hunter to being a hunter,” he adds. And all those years of COVID that she lost, it should have been years to strengthen her after her title.”
We had the proof of this on Saturday, when the Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko made short work of Andreescu.
The secret of the greats
Winning a Grand Slam always comes with pressure and the 42nd player in the world has had to learn to live with the expectations.
“I wondered why it was so difficult to repeat that, mentions Bianca. This is the case for all players, I think, except for Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and even Serena Williams. One day, I will have to ask them what their secret is!”
“She put too much pressure on herself, too many rules, analyzes Lambert. She needs to be free. From time to time, it can be hard to have someone who goes all over the place, you have to reframe it, but it is one of its qualities at the same time.
A clay court player?
Andreescu came to Paris after suffering two defeats in as many matches on clay. Not exactly the right preparation.
She still managed to reach the third round at Roland-Garros, a first for her in a major event, with the exception, of course, of New York, where she triumphed in 2019 and scored two wins last year.
“I never understood why people thought she was not a clay court player. It is completely false. She won the Orange Bowl [16 and under] on clay twice!” exclaims the one who was also her trainer when she was a teenager, before moving to New Zealand.
“If you have someone who won the US Open, right away, they say that he is a hard specialist. If you have someone who has won Wimbledon, you are a grass specialist. We like to compartmentalize people,” observes Lambert, a Frenchman who has already lived in Montreal. , Andreescu will make the transition to the grass season because she will play in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, followed by Berlin and Bad Homburg, Germany, before wrapping up at Wimbledon in July. .
“I'm very excited because I improved a lot on the grass last year,” she says. And after having managed to reach a good level on clay, I want to do the same thing on grass.”