Beat a former World No. 1 and Grand Slam champion? Check. Beat a Williams sister? Check. Crush the incumbent Genie Bouchard 6-2, 6-0, win your maiden WTA tour title, and assume the throne as Canada’s top-ranked woman in the same week? Check, check, and check.
That’s not all. Turn on the television — for those of us who still use cable — and it is the 18-year-old’s face you first see when a commercial for the Rogers Cup in Toronto later this August airs. On Wednesday, she was named to Canada’s Fed Cup team and will lead the line against the Netherlands in Dutch territory beginning Feb. 9. Understandably, there are those who would like to reserve their fanfare for if and when Andreescu shows some staying power. Canada has already seen the manner in which Bouchard’s on-court career has taken a plunge since the giddy heights of two semifinals and one final appearance in Grand Slams in 2014. The Montreal native placed as high as fifth in the WTA rankings in 2014. Andreescu is a ways away from achieving even those heights, but what she does have is a relentless desire to win matched only by the intensity of her ferocious ground strokes. From outside the top 240 to her current rank of 68, Andreescu’s made clear that she wants more, and Tennis Canada’s belief that she can do more is illustrated by their investment in the Mississauga, Ontario native since the age of 10. The only child of Romanian immigrants, Canada’s tennis federation identified that she was someone who not only was a precocious talent, but was willing to do the work in search of greatness.
You wouldn’t think this was an 18-year-old trying to save all the puppies and kittens. Yes, whenever she’s back in her parents’ home in Romania, Andreescu takes homeless cats and dogs to the vet, gets them cleaned up and finds relatives to adopt them. That’s the plan, for now, at least until she can open a shelter or two of her own.
To make that happen, the ascent must continue. The young brigade of women’s tennis led by 21-year-old Naomi Osaka awaits, and so does Canada. For all the craziness that January has brought to Andreescu’s life, this is just the calm before the storm.