Mirra Andreeva insists the secret behind her meteoric rise is ‘not being a diva’

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‘I want 25 Grand Slams!’: Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva insists the secret behind her meteoric rise is ‘not being a diva’… as the 16-year-old eyes a third-round upset against world No 6 Coco Gauff at the French Open

  • Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva continued her meteoric rise on Thursday
  • She claimed an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 second round win over France’s Diane Parry 
  • The 16-year-old star is the youngest player to reach the third round since 2005 

With the innocence of youth, a beaming smile and a bucket-load of belief, 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva strolled into her press conference and said the secret to achieving her dream of ‘25 Grand Slams’ is to not be a ‘diva’.

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With no Rafa Nadal on site and little British interest, the Russian’s rise from the Australian Open juniors final in January to the third round of the French Open main draw is becoming one of the stories of the first week here in Paris.

She emphatically eased past home favourite Diane Parry in two sets in the blistering heat on Thursday 6-1, 6-2 to set-up a riveting third-round clash with fellow teenager Coco Gauff.

Asked about her dreams in tennis, the 16-year-old said: ‘The dream… well I know Novak Djokovic won 22 Grand Slams, so I want to go until 25!

‘For now my goal is to win match by match, to win the next match. Then if I win this match, it’s to win the next match after that.’

Russian star Mirra Andreeva spoke to the media following her brilliant victory over Diane Parry

Russian star Mirra Andreeva spoke to the media following her brilliant victory over Diane Parry

Playing like this, there’s no reason why she can’t keep winning despite meeting world No 6 and last year’s runner-up Gauff on Saturday.

It is hard to avoid comparisons with her American opponent, who broke through as a 15-year-old. Asked on how she can keep grounded, Andreeva said: ‘​​Maybe, as my coach says, to not be like a diva, to stay humble all the time.

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‘I don’t think that I have a lot of success now. I have not won any tournaments. I just play. It’s the third round of Roland Garros I will play.’

Andreeva is from a tennis family, with her 18-year-old sister Erika also playing here this week. Their mother Raisa is said to have been inspired by Russian Marat Safin, 2005 Australian Open winner.

Andreeva won in straights sets to set up a third round meeting with world No 6 Coco Gauff

Andreeva won in straights sets to set up a third round meeting with world No 6 Coco Gauff

Whether they could be tennis’ next great siblings is a conversation for another day but the younger sister is enjoying a fruitful 2023 and has lost just twice since that juniors final defeat in Melbourne, one of which was to world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka.

Andreeva’s best memory at Roland Garros is not on the court, though. ‘Last year I met Novak in the hall of Court Suzanne Lenglen,’ she added. 

‘He was going to the locker room and was singing a song.

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‘Roger Federer has always been my idol, No 1. But after Roland Garros 2022 when Rafa Nadal won, I don’t know why, but in my head everything turned! Now Rafa and Roger are in the first place… but I don’t want to offend Novak!’

The teenager is the youngest player to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 2005

The teenager is the youngest player to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 2005

Andreeva, who has trained with Gauff before, still has school to focus on – she says her schoolwork has fallen behind due to her tennis exploits – but for now her homework is Gauff.

The American, 19, beat Austrian Julia Grabher on Thursday in two sets.

World No 1 Iga Swiatek eased into the next round and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina also won in straight sets, while Ons Jabeur – another idol of Andreeva for her playing style – also won.

American qualifier Kayla Day, playing in her first main draw at a Grand Slam since the US Open in 2017, beat compatriot 20th seed Madison Keys in three sets.

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