Sixteen-year-old qualifier Mirra Andreeva became the youngest player since 2005 to reach the French Open third round on Thursday and immediately set her sights on winning a record-shattering 25 Grand Slam titles.
Andreeva, ranked at 143 in the world and making her Grand Slam debut, eased to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Diane Parry of France.
The France-based Russian is the youngest player to make the last 32 since a 15-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva made the 2005 quarterfinals.
She is also just the seventh player under the age of 17 to make the third round in Paris in 30 years, a group that includes the likes of serial Slam champions Serena Williams and Martina Hingis.
“My dream? I know that Djokovic did 22 Grand Slams so I want to go until 25, if it will be possible,” said Andreeva who played the junior tournament in Paris last year.
However, should she reach that mark and surpass the majors collections of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (22), Serena Williams (23) and all-time leader Margaret Court (24), she promised to stay grounded.
“If I will be a little bit like a diva, my coach will say something to me for sure because he doesn’t like those people,” said Andreeva.
“So I’m sure I will get some words from him. I will just be me. I will just be myself, and I’m sure if I will just do my thing, I will just, let’s say, stay on the ground.”
It has been a breakout tournament and year for the teenager.
She has won five matches at Roland Garros without dropping a set while her record for 2023 stands at 22 wins and just two losses. Six of those wins have come against top-100 players.
The French Open is only her third tour-level main draw appearance. On the eve of Roland-Garros, she went all the way to the last 16 in Madrid, beginning the event when she was still 15.
Andreeva recalls rubbing shoulders with Djokovic deep in the bowels of Court Suzanne Lenglen last year.
“He was going to the locker room and he was singing a song.”
Djokovic, she admits, jostles with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for her affections.
“Roger, he was always my idol, my No. 1, but after Roland-Garros 2022 when Rafa won it, in my head everything turned.
“Now Rafa and Roger, they’re in the first place, but I don’t want to offend Novak. So let’s say they’re three in first place.
“I like the way that he plays. He’s counterpunching a lot, and he’s a good defender. He’s a good mover on the court, so yes, I like the way he plays.”
Andreeva could face 2022 runner-up Coco Gauff for a place in the last 16 if the 19-year-old American gets past Austria’s Julia Grabher later Thursday.
Gauff and Andreeva have practised together at Roland Garros.
“She’s an experienced player. I am sure it will be a great match. She will do her best, I will do mine. We’ll have to see who does it better,” said Andreeva.
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