Russian 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva is breaking new ground at Wimbledon but has yet to pluck up the courage to engage in conversation with her tennis hero, Andy Murray. The starstruck Andreeva on Thursday became the third-youngest qualifier to reach the last 32 after Kim Clijsters in 1999 and Coco Gauff four years ago.
It came in her first grass-court tournament. Having made the third round at the French Open last month, also out of qualifying, the youngster repeated her success when 10th-seeded Barbora Krejcikova retired with a foot injury
Andreeva was already 6-3, 4-0 ahead when the former French Open champion quit. The Russian teen hit the headlines in April when she reached the fourth round in Madrid, where she turned 16.
“The atmosphere is so special. You take a lunch with all these stars,” she said at the time.
“You see Andy Murray… you see his face and he’s so beautiful in life. He’s so amazing.”
In response, Murray trolled himself. “Imagine how good she’s going to be when she gets her eyes fixed,” he tweeted.
Andreeva said Thursday she is still trying to find the courage to speak to the two-time Wimbledon champion at the All England Club.
“I saw him here but I’m too shy to talk to him. When I see him, I try to leave the facility super quick just to not talk to him because I’m super shy,” she admitted.
Andreeva, who played the Australian Open junior final in January, was ranked just inside the top 300 at the end of 2022. She arrived at Wimbledon at 102 and will comfortably make her top 100 debut after the tournament.
Her surge to fame has already made her the latest star of the Netflix documentary “Break Point”, even if the cameras can get in the way.
“They are following me. They’re actually somewhere here, I guess,” she told her news conference. If you don’t want to film something, they’re super cool with it. For example, yesterday (before her first-round match) I was feeling super nervous.
“In the warm-up I felt a little bit uncomfortable, little bit stressed, so we told them that maybe it’s not a good time for this. They were super cool with it. They just left. They gave me some space.”
The teenager next faces either compatriot Anastasia Potapova or Kaja Juvan of Slovenia. In Paris last month, it took world number seven Coco Gauff to stop her in three sets in the last 32. This time she’s hoping for better on a bigger court.
“I would say that before I would be definitely scared to play on the Centre Court, but now I want to play on the court with tribunes. At least Court 3, I will be super happy.”