Mirra Andreeva could be THE player to watch in the women’s draw at Wimbledon with the 17-year-old sensation having already reached the semi-finals of the French Open.

Andreeva became the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist since Martina Hingis in 1997 at Roland Garros before her teenage dreams were shattered by Jasmine Paolini.

The Russian froze on the big stage as Paolini, 28, became only the third Italian woman to reach the Paris final in the Open era.

Andreeva admitted too many errors had cost her on the big points, but it’s something she hopes to put right at Wimbledon where she surprised everyone, including herself, by coming through qualifying to reach the fourth round last year.

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Andreeva talks about her rise to the top of the women’s game

“Honestly, I could have played better, of course. I had a lot of mistakes. The ones that I usually don’t do. Yeah, that was a bit tough to accept,” said Andreeva after her French Open heartbreak.

“I was struggling throughout the whole match, but it is what it is. It’s just what happened today. I can take a lot of positives from these two weeks.”

Born in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk in April 2007, Andreeva and her older sister Erika, who is also a professional tennis player, were introduced to the sport by her mother.

They moved to Sochi and then Cannes, France, to set uptraining base with coaches Jean-René Lisnard and Jean-Christophe Faurel.

At the age of 15 she made her breakthrough when she reached the girls’ final at the Australian Open in 2022.

She turned professional in 2023 and made her first big WTA impression on clay at the Madrid Open, after reaching the fourth round, and subsequently made her debut at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, propelling her to new heights of sporting stardom.

Erika has had a front-row seat to Mirra’s rise, and it hasn’t come as a surprise.

“I’ve been watching how she’s changed herself, how she’s growing,” she said. “I think she has this success because she’s growing mentally. In her head she’s started to think more like an adult. Also, she’s such a fan of tennis. She watches tennis all the time and she has all her life. If you love tennis as much as she does, you don’t have a choice but to have good results, you know?”

Bringing former champion on board

FILE - Conchita Martinez holds up the trophy after winning the Ladies Singles Final on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, July 2, 1994. Former Wimbledon champion Conchita Mart..nez has been named tournament director for the Billie Jean King Cup finals. Twelve national teams will play in Seville during the finals from Nov. 7-12. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin, File)
Former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez has struck up a special bond with Andreeva

Andreeva started working with former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez in the spring after striking up a special bond.

“We clicked immediately,” said Martinez, the former coach of now retired Slam winner Garbine Muguruza. “It was just like we knew each other for years.”

Andreeva spoke of her impact after beating Aryna Sabalenka at this year’s French Open, while revealing an insight into her mentality on court. “I just see the game, I play where I want!” she said.

“I don’t have a plan. If I see a space, I hit there. My and my coach, we ‘had a plan’ today, but I forgot during the match. She [Martinez] is giving me great support. Having her by my side is an amazing advantage for me.”

Mirra & Andy

Andreeva is a huge fan of Andy Murray and during her breakthrough at the Madrid Open, she admitted being starstruck when she saw the Scot in the players’ restaurant.

“When you sit here and take in all the stars, like Andy Murray, you see his face,” Andreeva said. “He is so beautiful in life. Sorry, he is so amazing.”

She congratulated Murray after he won a Challenger title in France ahead of French Open, with the two-time Wimbledon champion responding to the text.

“He actually answered me, so I was really happy about it,” Andreeva said. “He said, ‘Thank you, and good luck in Roland Garros.”

Andreeva was asked what was better, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final or taking a photo with Murray?

“Both are good. It was a nice moment in the beginning of the tournament because I had a gift. I had, like, retro camera. I was, like, well, I have to do a lot of photos,” she said.

“I made a list with who I want to take a picture. Of course, Andy, he was first on the list because, I mean, we had a few interactions, but I don’t even have a photo with him. I was like: ‘Well, we need to fix that’. I saw him few times before, but he was warming up, he was eating. So I was like: ‘Well, next time’.

“Then on that day I saw him just talking to his team. I was like: ‘Well, he’s busy, no, no, no’. My coach was like: ‘No, you go, you do it, and after we forget about it’. So she kind of pushed me to him. Well, finally, I had a picture with him.”

After Andreeva won from match point down against Diane Parry in the third round of the Australian Open, Murray was quick to recognise her accomplishment.

“Andreeva down 5-1 in third,” he wrote on X. “Commentator, ‘She really needs to work on mental side of her game, she’s too hard on herself when she’s losing.’ 30 minutes later, 7-6 Andreeva wins.

“Maybe the reason she turned the match round is because of her mental strength. Maybe she turned the match around because she is hard on herself and demands more of herself when she’s losing/playing badly? Winner.”

What are her chances at Wimbledon?

Russia's Mirra Andreeva sits in her chair during a change of ends break as she plays Madison Keys of the US in a women's singles match on day eight of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, July 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Andreeva qualified and reached the fourth round of Wimbledon on her debut at the tournament last summer

Her signature backhand down the line proved to be equally formidable on the grass court last year as she stormed through qualifying before her run was ended in controversy in the fourth round against Madison Keys.

Andreeva, who had been seeking to become the youngest player since Anna Kournikova in 1997 to make the Wimbledon quarter-finals, left the court in a hurry having previously enthralled fans with some outstanding displays.

She might show moments of petulance but Andreeva is a year older and wiser and a good draw for the world No 23 could see her close in on more history at the All England Club.

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