Bianca Andreescu has some advice about breakfast.
“What I like to eat is oatmeal because it really sustains me for a long period of time, but I choose gluten-free because I do have some intolerance,” said the 21-year-old tennis star from Mississauga, Ont.
Andreescu is the only Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title. She achieved it at the 2019 U.S. Open after defeating tennis great Serena Williams in the final, 6–3, 7–5.
“So gluten-free oats with berries, nuts for some healthy fats, and then I’ll have two eggs for protein on the side.”
Andreescu answered questions posed to her over video by children who take tennis lessons at Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga, where she trained as a child.
Louis asked how old Andreescu was when she first picked up the sport.
“I started playing tennis at the age of seven. Prior to that I played a bunch of other sports,” she said.
“But the one true thing I loved to play was tennis, so I stuck with that and now it’s been 15 years.”
The Sunday Magazine’s Piya Chattopadhyay spoke to Andreescu recently about her new children’s book, Bibi’s Got Game: A Story about Tennis, Meditation and a Dog Named Coco. She also answered questions sent to The Sunday Magazine from children at her former club.
“How do you motivate yourself before a match when you’re anxious?” asked Scarlett.
“I really like to listen to music because it just helps me get out of my thoughts,” said Andreescu. “And it helps me get very pumped up before my matches. I like to listen to things that are more upbeat and inspirational.
“And then I also like to do a meditation practice because that helps me calm down. That’s something super simple, just focusing on my breath.”
Andreescu says she does that for about five minutes, “and it really, really helps.”
Dealing with frustration
In fact, meditation is one of the themes of her book. The main character, Bibi, which was Andreescu’s childhood nickname, is feeling anxious and down on her game. She is tempted to quit, but then learns to meditate.
Emmett’s question for Andreescu was related to feelings of frustration and anxiety. “When you’re in a match and you get frustrated, what do you do?”
“I had to learn how to control my nerves, because when I was younger … about your age, I felt that I was getting very frustrated,” she said. “Sometimes I would even smash my racket and that negative energy would just transfer to the next couple of points, even games.”
Andreescu said she came to understand that mistakes will happen, both in matches and practice, and not to focus on them too much.
The Sunday Magazine21:08Bianca Andreescu on rising to the top of the tennis world, and how she stays grounded
Aiming for greatness
Noah wanted to know what it takes to become a tennis player.
“It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of great support,” said Andreescu. “Hopefully great support from other people that can help push you even through tough times, because there are a lot of tough times, in any area of life.”
She says it also means she missed out on a lot of fun things growing up, like going to friends’ birthday parties. And it still takes sacrifice today.
“But if I focus on my end goal, which is to become the best tennis player that I can be, then a lot of that just … doesn’t really matter.”
Her final word to the kids?
“If you really put your mind to something you can achieve anything,” she said. “My book finally came out. If you guys read it, I hope it will inspire you in a way, and maybe jump start your tennis career — if tennis is what you want to do.”
Written by Brandie Weikle. Video produced by Althea Manasan.