Mirra Andreeva wants Sharapova to tell her what it feels like to win a Grand Slam at 17

Mirra Andreeva
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NEW YORK – It is inevitable to think of the figure of Maria Sharapova when a teenager like Russia’s Mirra Andreeva comes to the forefront of world tennis, like the s the owner of five Grand Slams did.

“I would ask Maria what her feeling was like when she won her first Grand Slam at 17. Then I would want to know other things, but the first thing would to know what she felt after she won Wimbledon in 2004,” Andreeva told CLAY in New York, where she is playing the US Open for the first time as an “adult”.

If Andreeva wants to hear from Sharapova what it means to achieve the ultimate tennis glory, it’s because it’s an achievement she has in her sights at the age of 16. She doesn’t state it, clearly, but she does define that she is building her own path and that she doesn’t want to follow in anyone’s footsteps: “People may say, perhaps, that I’m following her path and doing the same as her, but I don’t focus on that. I have my own career, my own life. I will only do my best to create a great career.”

The last great Russian female champion revolutionized tennis in 2004 when as a 17-year-old she beat Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final and won over the public with a proud, strong and explosive personality. It is rash to say that Andreeva is going to follow the same journey, but it is certain that the teenager born three years after Sharapova’s shock in London, already has hints of superstar and is emerging as a possible multi-champion.

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Sharapova lifting her Wimbledon title at the age of 17
Mirra Andreeva at Roland Garros 2023

As a good representative of her generation, Andreeva watches Sharapova’s videos on YouTube over and over again: “I watch her, just as I watch a lot of the rest of the field.”

The cameras followed the young Russian closely during the most important tournaments in Europe. Netflix bet on her to be one of the protagonists of “Break Point” and thus save a series that after its first season on air turned out to be a disappointment.

The tennis series was far from what was expected from the same creators of “Drive To Survive”. That production did revolutionize the Formula One, was among the most watched series on the platform and brought new and larger audiences to the racies. With her charismatic aura, Andreeva could give a product without much spark the flavor it has been looking for and has been unable to find.

What Netflix is doing with Andreeva is one more sign of what is projected within the women’s circuit: Andreeva has everything to make audiences fall in love with her immense tennis quality, sweet personality and good handling with the media. Like the young Sharapova of two decades ago.

Mirra Andreeva during her US Open debut in  2023

The Wimbledon organizers and journalists are also getting it, and from the third round onwards, Andreeva sat down to talk in the Media Theatre, the main conference room. Earlier in the qualifiers she had spoken to CLAY about her first experiences among the world’s best: “I don’t know if I feel professional. I think so! I just play, I do my thing, I really enjoy the time on the court even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I need to keep winning so that the top players start talking to me.”

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How does she feels under the spotlight?

“Sometimes it’s a little uncomfortable. I get a lot of people after games asking me for a picture. I don’t want to say no because they support me and are cheering me on. I couldn’t say no and walk away, but it’s true that I can’t stay too long with people because I need to rest and do my own thing,” she says.

So is there a technique to get away from that endless demand from fans?

“I’m glad there are security guards who say “no.” I tell them (lowers voice volume) ‘let’s go, let’s go’ and they do their job super good.”

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