January 29, 2023

Open Court

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AO ’23: Andreescu preps for Bouzkova (pics)

MELBOURNE, Australia – It’s a new season. And Bianca Andreescu has a brand new team of people around her to help her get back to the top of the game.

It wasn’t much fun in 2022, as most of Team Andreescu jumped ship through the last part of it.

And so, on fairly short notice, she had to find a new agent and also a new team of people around her.

As it turns out, if her French isn’t on point by the end of 2023, it won’t be because she isn’t hearing plenty of it around her.

Her new coach is Christophe Lambert, a Frenchman who was working in New Zealand, but who also was at Tennis Canada when Andreescu was coming through as a young girl.

The fitness trainer is Baptiste Bardey.

The physio is the experienced Jean-Pierre Bruyère, who has worked with Victoria Azarenka, among others.

Here she is talking about all that.

Practice makes perfect

After an improbable comeback against Garbiñe Muguruza in the first round of Adelaide two weeks ago, Andreescu fell to Veronika Kudermetova; the Canadian couldn’t remember ever losing 12 games in row. But that’s what happened; and it’s not as though she played that badly.

So the 22-year-old had plenty of time to arrive in Melbourne, get used to the conditions and practice, ahead of her first-round match against No. 25 seed Marie Bouzkova Monday – promptly at 11 a.m.

Here she was early last week.

And here is Andreescu on Sunday, less than 24 hours before the match.

Andreescu leads Head-to-Head 2-1

Bouzkova and Andreescu have some history.

They met two years ago, during a pandemic-created “second-week” WTA 250 on site at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open.

It was a bit of a bizarre setup. But Andreescu played some crazy matches.

She ended up losing it, 6-7 (9), 6-2, 7-5 to the Czech, who was the No. 13 seed to her No. 2.

At Roland Garros in 2019, Andreescu pulled out a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the first round.

And way back in 2019, in a Challenger-level event Newport Beach on her way back from the Australian Open, Andreescu had it all her way, 6-1, 6-2.

It’s a tough draw for both of them, and it sets up as a big battle.

We’ll see how it goes.

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