Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva said on Tuesday that a good luck message from Andy Murray “maybe” helped her win on her French Open debut.
The 16-year-old made headlines with a run to the fourth round at the Madrid Open last month and came through qualifying at Roland Garros to make her Grand Slam tournament debut, beating Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-1 in the first round.
Andreeva also attracted attention in Madrid for comments about Murray being “beautiful” in real life, with the former men’s world number one remarking about “how good she’s going to be when she gets her eyes fixed”.
Murray is sitting out Roland Garros to prepare for the grass-court season, but he did wish Andreeva the best for her campaign.
“After he won a Challenger, I texted him. I said, ‘Congratulations’,” said Andreeva.
“He actually answered me, so I was really happy about it. He said, ‘Thank you, and good luck in Roland Garros’. Maybe that’s why I’m playing that good now.”
She continued her rapid rise since losing in the Roland Garros girls’ singles quarter-finals 12 months ago with an impressive dismantling of experienced American Riske-Amritraj.
“Last year I was here as a junior, and I think I couldn’t even imagine that I can be playing women’s tournament here and being in a major, passing qualification,” said Andreeva.
“What can I say? Of course, I’m pretty excited about it. I am just doing what I feel is right to do on the court.”
Andreeva is set to rise further from her current ranking of 143 and will face Frenchwoman Diane Parry for a place in the last 32.
Her older sister Erika, 18, is also in the draw as a lucky loser and faces American Emma Navarro in her opening match later Tuesday.
“Maybe I will watch my sister if she will not play too late,” added Mirra Andreeva. “But, of course, I will support her... I’m really nervous when she plays.”
Andreeva, who only turned 16 during the Madrid Open, is still juggling her burgeoning tennis career with school lessons which she takes online.
“I’m doing honestly pretty good (in school),” she said. “I will not lie, but chemistry is so bad. Chemistry for me, I don’t understand anything.
“But usual math and English. I hope, I guess, it’s not that bad.”
Andreeva’s run in Madrid was ended by world number two and eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka, with the youngster only managing to win four games.
“Honestly, she kicked my ass. I’m sorry, but she really did.”
For the two to meet again at Roland Garros, it would have to be in the final. She is, however, in the same quarter of the draw as her sister.
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