The association Bianca Andreescu-Sylvain Bruneau, an idea of Louis Borfiga
Sylvain Bruneau knew from his first moments as a full-time coach of Bianca Andreescu that he had an extraordinary player in his hands.
Bruneau and the US Open champion have started working together at the request of Louis Borfiga, Vice President of Elite Development at Tennis Canada. It was February 2018. Bruneau was in Romania as captain of the Fed Cup.
“It’s really his vision of what’s going on right now,” Bruneau told a press conference at IGA Stadium on Tuesday. And this association could never have happened.
“Initially, I was reluctant because I have a good relationship with all the girls on the team (Fed Cup). I knew that if I was assigned to one of them in particular, it could change the dynamics with the others. I had reservations, but Louis was convincing. ”
The first two tournaments in which they participated “together”, in March 2018 in Japan, Andreescu reached the final.
“I thought she was a talented player. I saw things to work, to do differently. During these first two tournaments, we returned to the field after all the matches, because we were alone, there was no physical trainer with us. This champion, I felt it. I watched his reactions in a few Fed Cup games where there was a lot of pressure. The way she approached the games, the important points. I wondered if she was aware of all that, who she was. I knew I had a great project in my hands. ”
He never knew that she would reach the pinnacle of women’s tennis in just 18 months.
“I pinch myself a little. It’s still huge when you look at your year. I saw signs last year that her year 2019 was certainly going to be fine, but what she’s doing is … “he says.
Bruneau is now with a top-5 player in the world and a Grand Slam winner in her hands. And the media whirlwind that accompanies it.
“We have a lot of requests, of course. We understand the interest in the country, which is behind it. It was also necessary to manage before the final: the biggest match still remained to play. Just being in the final in New York, against Serena, in Grand Slam, it’s already a lot. To win the title, it came five times all that. It does not hurt. But it is certain that it is a good thing.
“I have never experienced something like that, it’s clear. (That’s) maybe a little (bigger than I imagined). But it’s fantastic. I am thrilled for Canadian tennis, the excitement it has generated from coast to coast to coast. It seems that the ratings have been incredible. I’m happy for Bianca, for the team. It’s just beautiful, but it’s hard to handle for a few days. I know it will eventually fall. ”
This rain of demands forced the Andreescu clan to reconsider its schedule somewhat. While she was scheduled to participate in several tournaments in the Asian portion of the calendar, Andreescu will attend only the China Open in Beijing from September 28 to October 6.
“We’ll see how it goes. The goal is to compete in the WTA Finals, a tournament that brings together the top eight in the world, said Bruneau. It will be necessary to be judicious in the choices on the calendar, the training and the periods of rest. In the spring, she played a lot of games and was injured. There was a lot of positive about this period, but also about the negative. We did not hesitate after Toronto to remove it from Cincinnati. We end up with a scenario a little similar (for Asia). ”
The most beautiful in all this? Bruneau is confident that Andreescu can further improve all aspects of his game.
“She can progress in all the departments of her game. She has a complete game, a great game, and does a lot of good things on the field, but it can still improve. She is not specialized. Women’s tennis is a bit stereotyped, very powerful. Girls play pretty similar styles. She has a range of moves that allows her to make a lot of progress in her game, in the service and on the ground in particular. ”
Louis Borfiga, Vice President of Elite Development at Tennis Canada
The last few days at Flushing Meadows brought a lot of emotions to Bruneau, who had to prepare his protégé for the biggest game of his life against a legend of his sport.
“Bianca has been prepared to face the best of Serena. We know she wants her 24th title and she has failed three times with bad games. We thought it was going to be different. The beginning of the match was essential: in quarter and half, Bianca had some skirmishes. She had to play catch-up tennis against (Elise) Mertens. She did very well against (Belinda) Bencic, but on several games, she was trailing 15-40. So, it took a much stronger start to the game, to send a message from the beginning of the game.
“An hour later, it’s 6-3, 5-1, match ball. Honestly, that’s not what we had envisioned. It’s almost too good to be true: it touches on victory. We know what’s going on: Serena has nothing to lose, she finds her bearings and plays the best tennis. Bianca twists slightly – that’s normal. She keeps calm, but I see it in her game, her first serve ball, it gets more complicated. At 5-5 – must understand that I am one of those who is never quiet during a tennis match, because I saw too many turnovers, by my players or against them – must start again and there is a little ‘worry.
“I found it amazing how she handled the last two games with her little experience at this level. She played very aggressively and could not hope for Serena’s mistakes, although she did some of them. (…) When we hugged each other, it was very strong on both sides. We thought of everything that had been overcome. ”
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