Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva believes Andy Murray is her lucky charm after she claimed her first senior grand slam victory at the French Open.
The Russian, who only celebrated her birthday last month, has been making rapid strides in the women’s game and brushed aside experienced American Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2 6-1 at Roland Garros.
That followed a breakthrough week at the Madrid Open when Andreeva reached the fourth round and revealed herself to be a big fan of Murray.
“When you’re here and take a lunch with all these stars, you see Andy Murray, you see his face and he’s so beautiful in life, he is so amazing,” she told Tennis Channel.
“Imagine how good she’s going to be when she gets her eyes fixed,” was Murray’s self-deprecating response.
But the pair have kept in touch and Andreeva said on Tuesday: “I didn’t see Andy Murray since Madrid because he is not here but, after he won a Challenger, I texted him.
“I said, ‘Congratulations’. He actually answered me, so I was really happy about it. He said, ‘Thank you and good luck in Roland Garros’. Maybe that’s why I’m playing that good now.”
Andreeva was runner-up in the girls’ singles at the Australian Open but has had no problem adjusting to life on the women’s tour and, after winning three matches in qualifying in Paris and one in the main draw, she is closing in on a place in the top 100.
“Of course, it feels amazing for me,” said the teenager. “I’m really excited that I managed to win this match after passing the qualis draw. So, of course, I’m really happy, and I’m looking forward to playing the next round.”
Last year’s beaten finalist Coco Gauff looked in trouble at a set down to Spaniard Rebeka Masarova but she responded well to win 3-6 6-1 6-2.
Sixth seed Ons Jabeur suffered a shock first-round exit last year when she was among the title favourites but eased through this time, beating Lucia Bronzetti 6-4 6-1.
The Tunisian said: “Playing on Philippe Chatrier is such a beautiful court, but I don’t have a good history with it. Every first round is very difficult in a grand slam. I was pretty stressed, I’ve got to say, but I was just trying to play my game.”