Serena Williams’ and Bianca Andreescu’s Coaches Talk Ahead of Women’s US Open Final
(September 6, 2019) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Ahead of the women’s final at the US Open on late Saturday afternoon, the coaches of Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu spoke to the media about their upcoming match.
Andreescu began her full time coaching relationship with Sylvain Bruneau in March of 2018.
“I was the Fed Cup captain, and I’m also in charge of women’s tennis at Tennis Canada,” he told media. “So from a young age I got to see her play.
“The first time was Nationals, Under-16 Nationals. I think she was 13. I was just watching her play because she was one of the, you know, players which had a good profile.
“But very early, maybe two years later, she got selected for Fed Cup. She started to do some camps where I was in charge of those camps, and that’s how we got to know each other. That’s how I started working with her. It was not full time then. It was just through my capacity as Fed Cup captain or women’s coach for Tennis Canada.”
“I mean, when we started to work really together, that’s basically when we look at how she was playing, and I felt then — and she was having good results when I started working with her. She was already 250 in the world and she was 17. I felt she could do more on the court. I felt she could do more than just hit the ball really early and hard and through the court, which she was doing. So we looked at a lot of the guys, what they were doing, the way they were playing tennis I think with more shape and with more spin and using the entire court.
“I thought she had what it took to do it, because she sees the court really well and she loved it. So that’s a little bit — and we have been, since then, really putting a lot, a lot of emphasis on shot selection, playing the right way and that kind of things, and a lot of the coaching is from a tactical perspective.”
“I think that she has shown this year with her results her resiliency and all that which she can accomplish,” Bruneau said,
“So for sure tomorrow is a tough task, he added. For sure, the toughest ask she’s had this year in her young career. But she’s a warrior and she’s a street fighter. She strives to compete.
“I strongly hope and I’m pretty confident she’s going to step in the arena tomorrow, both feet in, and going at it.”
Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, is not surprised that Andreescu is in the final.
“As I said before the tournament, I had been asked who are my two underdogs, and I said Bianca and Medvedev. So I’m not surprised she’s there. I expected her in final, and I think she’s going to be No. 1 soon. I mean, not too soon but in the future, because she has everything that’s needed to be No. 1. A lot of respect for her.
“As you said, a lot of tools in her game. Like a really complete game. She has the whole package. Like the game’s amazing, I think: the physical, the athleticism, and the mental.
“She looks incredibly confident. She feels like she’s where she belongs. That’s the impression she gives.”
Williams’s coach has been there and done that in regard to major finals as Serena goes for her 24th major to equal Margaret Court for the all-time record, for the third time, after losing in the finals of Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open since coming back from giving birth in 2017.
She’s had to overcome childbirth and injuries,
“The first problem she had was not an injury, but her body transformed to become a mother. You don’t come back to your previous body, which is the body of a professional top athlete, overnight. It takes time. So that was the first goal, to be completely in shape and able to perform at the highest level physically.
“And on that way, she got injured several times, especially in the lower part of the body, which is very annoying because you can’t do anything, basically. You can’t do sports and it delays a lot the moment when you’ll be able to compete again.
“And she played through this injury. I mean, people were disappointed about her results, but I think her results were incredible considering that.
“Now, before Wimbledon, like two weeks before Wimbledon, 10 days to be precise, finally got rid of her knee problem and she was able to run without thinking about her knee. So now it’s several weeks in a row, so I think her fitness just went up and up, and I think her movement now is better than I have ever seen since she became a mother.”
“So when you play a Grand Slam final — I know you never did, and I never did, either — there is a lot of emotion,” Mouratoglou said. “So there is a lot of emotion for everyone, including, of course, Serena and all the champions.
“When you play for a record like this one, there is even more, which is fine. It’s called pressure, and I think Serena had to experience a bit of pressure in her life. And you can’t think that she’s not good dealing with pressure.
“But you have to realize that to be able to deal with pressure, you need to feel strong. If you feel weak or not as strong as you wish you would, it’s more difficult to beat the pressure.
“When you don’t move well, you can’t be as confident as you should be, because if your A game doesn’t work, you don’t have any other option, and for me that’s what happened.
“I think it’s totally different situation now, because now she can move. If she needs to play the rally, she can play the rally. We have seen that I think a few times during the tournament. So there is no panic if she misses a bit more than usual. No problem. There are other options of play.
“You cannot even give her a plan B when she cannot make the plan B. So I feel she’s so much more confident now because she knows she’s ready. It’s like going into an exam and feeling you’re not ready. It’s difficult for us to realize, because she was in three finals so you feel she’s ready. But she was in the three finals because she’s the best competitor of all times, not because she was ready.”
As for Andreescu, how is looking to play the biggest match of her life on the biggest stage in tennis? Her coach says: “Well, I mean, it’s not just another match, but we will try to pretend it’s just another match, for sure. I think it’s important for her to go in there the same way she’s been going at it since the beginning of the year.
“It’s like she goes there, she competes, she believes in herself, and there is no reason that tomorrow it should be any different. Obviously she has one of the — you know, she has a legend against her on the other side of the court, but that should not change what she has control over. I think that’s going to be the message.”
The women’s final between the 37-year-old Serena Williams and the 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu takes place on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Eastern time.