- By Jonathan Jurejko
- BBC Sport at Wimbledon
Wimbledon 2023 on BBC
Location: All England Club Day: 3-16 July
Network coverage: Live on BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TV and mobile apps. More coverage details here.
Mirra Andreeva insists she is just an ordinary teenager.
To prove her point, the 16-year-old Russian revealed her bedroom was a “mess”.
On the court, however, everything is in order as she continues to achieve things most teenagers can only dream of doing.
Andreeva reached the fourth round of Wimbledon on Sunday, having never played on grass until before heading to SW19 for qualifying.
The run has shown why the youngster is considered one of the sport’s hottest prospects, with fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev – one of the best in the men’s sport – describes her progress as “exceptional”.
The US Open 2021 champion said: “Playing good tennis is one thing. Winning these games back and going deep is another story.
“Right now, she seems like a very big thing is coming.”
The hype continued to build at the All England Club.
Andreeva showed she’s not afraid to fantasize when she announced at the French Open last month that she hopes to win 25 Grand Slam titles.
Currently, she is adopting a more practical mindset.
After beating 22nd seed Anastasia Potapova, she was asked if she would consider competing against England’s Emma Raducanu and becoming a qualifying teen Grand Slam champion.
“I try not to think about it. I think it’s going to bother me, all these thoughts,” said the world No. 102 player against American No. 25 seed Madison Keys in the round of 16.
“I just try to play every game and don’t think how far I’ve come or what round I’m playing, against whom.
“I just try to play point-by-point. It doesn’t matter who it is against. It doesn’t matter which inning. I just play my match. I don’t change anything mentally, in terms of tennis.
How inspirational was Murray?
While shedding comparisons with Raducanu, she drew inspiration from another British tennis player who knew what it took to win a major title.
Andy Murray is one of Andreeva’s idols and the couple’s paths meet again at Wimbledon.
However, after they exchanged messages earlier, Andreeva admitted she was “too shy to talk” when they met at SW19.
When making her breakthrough at the Madrid Open earlier this year, Andreeva revealed she thought the former world number one was “awesome” and “beautiful”.
She then credits a message from Murray that inspired her to win her first Grand Slam match at the French Open last month.
Andreeva went on to reach the third round of Roland Garros, where she lost to Coco Gauff – another teen phenomenon who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon at the age of 15 in 2019.
The manner of that defeat – when she won the first set before losing focus as frustration overwhelmed her – led to some self-evaluation.
“After Paris, I had a pretty long talk with myself, just me and me. I just talked,” Andreeva said.
“In my head I’ve realized a few things. I’ve made some decisions that I think are important to me now.”
When asked what she had realized, she added: “Everything. Which decision was the right decision at that time on the court. What do I do if I lose 1-5, 0-40? term. Everything, wise tennis and wise spirit.”
A normal teenager goes on a rampage, loves Netflix and hates chemistry
The poignant reflection shows Andreeva’s growing maturity on the court, but her youthfulness can still be expressed through the odd rage of a teenager.
During a match against Gauff in Paris, she threw a ball into the crowd and hit a fan. The incident could cause her to default if the audience is injured and Andreeva later described it as a “stupid move”.
Fast forward to Wimbledon and she directs her anger at herself. After missing a return hit, she repeatedly punched her thigh with her fist.
In addition to the protest reactions, the messy room, and the shyness, there are other things that Andreeva says characterize her as an ordinary teenager.
Relaxing watching television is one of her favorite things to do while away from court, while she also has to take the time to continue her studies.
Andreeva, who was educated in the French resort of Cannes, studied at a Russian online school, doing well in core subjects like math and English but not too fond of chemistry.
“I do everything girls my age do. I like to watch dramas. I have to study in school. I have no choice. I have to suffer for two more years, that’s it,” she laughed.
“When I have free time, sometimes I prefer to be alone, it depends on my mood.
“But honestly, most of the time I watch Netflix.”