It’s safe to say that most Canadians weren’t familiar with the name Bianca Andreescu towards the end of 2018. But the new year changed all of that.
Now all of Canada is taking note of the 18-year-old from Mississauga — and so is the rest of the tennis world.
“I didn’t expect all of this success to come so quickly,” said Andreescu at the Tennis Canada headquarters, where she spent much of her teenage years training.
That payoff began at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where she defeated two former giants of the game.
“Oh my God, I remember after the match I was in awe with my team for like 10 minutes,” said Andreescu. “I told them to pinch me because I was like, ‘this is not happening right now.'”
The Canadian teen eventually fell in the tournament final. Just days later, she had to pick herself back up for the Australian Open, which saw her bow out in the second round.
But then came the Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach, California, where she said she raised her game to the next level.
“I had all that success in the last couple of weeks and I was like, ‘I’m bringing this into California,’ and that’s what I did,” said Andreescu.
WATCH: Second Serve: A Visit to Tennis Canada (February, 2018)
She was able to snag the top prize, defeating American Jessica Pegula and winning her first WTA title.
That victory was the icing on the cake in a month that saw the Mississauga teen rocket to a career-best No. 68 in the world rankings, leapfrogging Eugenie Bouchard as the top Canadian.
“It’s really hard to describe those moments,” said Andreescu. “All I can say is that it’s a dream come true.”
Her parents had a front-row seat for the emotional ups and downs throughout January.
“I always encourage her,” said Nicu Andreescu, Bianca’s father. “After every match, if she loses a match, I tell her, ‘listen, this is just a match. There are so many more matches to come, so head up, let’s go.'”
“It’s very exciting,” said Maria Andreescu, Bianca’s mother. “It’s nerve-racking at some points, but we get along and we want to keep Bianca level and be there for her when she needs us.”
As for what comes next, Andreescu said it’s going to be about preparing for the Fed Cup — but not before taking a few days to think about hobbies outside of tennis.
“I just plan on spending time my family and putting my rackets away for a week,” said Andreescu. “A good week.”