Bianca Andreescu has capped off a historic fortnight at Indian Wells with an emphatic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory against three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber to clinch her first WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open. She has described it as a Cinderella story.
"It’s been a crazy ride. Truly a Cinderella story. Naomi did this last year. And now to be able to have my name in front of so many amazing champions, it means the world to me." She added: "Nothing has sunk in, guys.I don't know what's gonna happen tonight, but hopefully I will, because I have another tournament in, like, two days."
“I just want to savor this moment because you never know what next week can bring”. Andreescu, 18, was making her first appearance in the Indian Wells main draw and is therefore the first player to win the BNP Paribas Open on debut since Serena Williams did so in 1999.
She is also the first teenager to win at Indian Wells since Serena did so in 2001 and the first wildcard to win the title ever. Furthermore Andreescu is the first Canadian - man or woman - to win the singles title. "I'd like to thank BNP Paribas for giving me this opportunity.
Without them I wouldn't be in this situation right now. I'm beyond grateful for that. It's incredible to have my name beside so many incredible champions. It's a dream come true." It’s been a whirlwind fortnight for Andreescu, who has openly spoken with media about using creative visualisations to get in the zone and to help get herself through the tough points.
"Yes, I did (visualise winning the trophy)," Andreescu admitted. "Not only this morning but so many times. It's crazy to think that it became a reality today." “It basically is nothing can distract me.
I'm relaxed. I trust myself. I trust my shots. I feel confident. In those moments, I try to breathe as much as I can, as well, to get into the zone. That's what I do usually before the match. In this past tournament, it's definitely helped.
I have been in the zone, I think, every match. There were some ups and downs in some matches, obviously. Tennis isn't a perfect sport. So I'm just - this means everything to me”. Down a break in the deciding set, Andreescu could be heard telling her coach: "I'm so tired, I can barely move out there, my feet are burning…But I want to win this so bad."
“In that moment, after I spoke to my coach, I just let it all out there. At that point I was really tired, so I went for my shots more, and that obviously worked. The next couple games I did the same thing. And I just fought till the end, because physically I wasn't feeling too well.
Yeah, I fought till the end. I managed to pull through”. Andreescu is set to propel to 24th in the WTA rankings, after starting the year outside of the Top 50. "A year ago, during this period, I had been struggling a lot with my tennis and with my body, too.
So it's crazy what a year can do. I was playing 25Ks in Japan, and now I'm the.. can I say the F word? No, I can’t,” a cheeky Andreescu said smiling. “The F-ing champion of Indian Wells. It's crazy. Crazy is the word of the tournament for me. Just crazy”.