It had been less than two days since Bianca Andreescu won the biggest title of her life at Indian Wells, and the 18-year-old Canadian tennis sensation was having a hard time remembering what had transpired in the 44 hours since she lifted the crystal winner's trophy.
"Everything is happening so quickly," Andreescu said by phone from her hotel in Miami on Tuesday afternoon, mid-whirlwind. "I didn't really get a chance to savor it, but I know it did happen. That's crazy to think."
Andreescu is in Florida now, at the Miami Open. She doesn't remember what time she got to sleep Sunday night after winning the BNP Paribas Open title or much of the 2½-hour drive from the California desert to LAX, where she boarded a flight to Miami on Monday afternoon. She remembers opening Twitter and reading congratulatory tweets from tennis legends Rod Laver and Billie Jean King, Romanian gymnastics icon Nadia Comaneci and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "And the Toronto Raptors," she said. "They actually posted a picture of me in my jersey. Having my name recognized by all these amazing people is a highlight."
Exhausted and overwhelmed and still processing it all, Andreescu landed at Miami International late Monday night and was met by her agent and parents, Nicu and Maria, who flew to Miami from Toronto a few days earlier. "I was dead tired, and they were all waiting for me," she said Tuesday. "It was so great. My parents have supported me since Day 1, and it was nice to get a chance to celebrate with them. Tonight, we're going to have a nice dinner. When I get home, there will be bigger things. Maybe I'll buy myself a nice Gucci bag. But it's time to focus on the next tournament."
The Miami Open started Wednesday, and although Andreescu jumped to No. 24 in the world Monday after her stunning upset of three-time Grand Slam champ Angelique Kerber in the Indian Wells final -- and several equally surprising upsets that preceded that match -- Andreescu entered Miami unseeded. She was scheduled to play her first-round match against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania on Wednesday night, but rain delayed the match until Thursday afternoon, throwing off her already chaotic debut in Miami.
As of Tuesday afternoon, however, Andreescu didn't know she had drawn Begu, also her first-round opponent at Indian Wells, or that a rematch with Kerber loomed in the third round. "I haven't seen the draw," she said. "I always look at it the night before my first match, just my first-round opponent, and then I do the same before my second round, and so on. I don't like to look into the future. I just want to stay in the present moment."
Right now, that's not a bad place for the teenager from Thornhill, Ontario, to live. Andreescu entered the 2019 season ranked No. 178 in the world, and in three months jumped 154 spots to No. 24. It's an unbelievable trajectory that could overwhelm any young player if she spent too much time looking in the rearview mirror, trying to make sense of it all.
Instead, Andreescu wakes up each morning, meditates for 15 minutes and visualizes the day she wants to experience. In postmatch interviews, she talks about the importance of practicing deep breathing and mindfulness in addition to her drop shots and groundstrokes. She knows those are the skills that will carry her past the toughest challenges on court, as well as the in-between moments after monumental wins and disappointing losses. (Not that she has had too many of the latter as of late.) At the BNP Paribas Open, Andreescu won seven matches in 12 days, the final two in long, physical three-setters. The turnaround to the Miami Open for any Indian Wells champ is brutal, but it's especially so for a player coming off her first title as a pro.
"For sure, it's the craziest week for her," Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy, Andreescu's agent at Octagon, told ESPN.com on Thursday. "She is still 18 years old and didn't play these kinds of tournaments before. To win Indian Wells, it's a life-changer for her. She was very tired physically and mentally because she lived the best moment of her life and career so far at Indian Wells. The emotions were huge. It was not easy for her to focus again."
In her opening match against Begu in Miami on Thursday, Andreescu found herself down a set and 5-1. She faced match point at 5-2. If she were to have suffered her first straight-sets loss of the season, no one would have faulted her for being tired, her legs heavy and her desire trampled by exhaustion. But one point from booking a flight home to Toronto, she shifted.
Point by point by magical drop shot, Andreescu began to level the match. She won five games in a row and the second-set tiebreaker 7-2 before closing out the match in three sets. It was an unbelievable comeback by a player who has proved to be as mentally tough as any woman in the game.
"What impresses me about her is her fearlessness," 18-time Grand Slam champ and TV commentator Chris Evert told ESPN.com on the eve of the Miami Open. "There is no hesitation, no intimidation, no tentativeness in her game. She goes full blast on every single point."
A few months ago, the curious teen, who loves visiting Canada's Wonderland amusement park, watching Netflix and hopes to bungee-jump one day, was not a player many at the top of the sport were familiar with. She was a trending topic on Twitter, and Google searches for her last name and the town in which she was born (Mississauga) surged, but it's likely both were often misspelled. "It's crazy so many people know my name now," she said. "But I really do deserve it because I have put in a lot of work and sacrifices."
Andreescu stopped playing juniors just one year ago, after a chance encounter with former world No. 1 Simona Halep at the 2016 Rogers Cup in Toronto. "We practiced together in Canada, and I remember telling her that she's strong enough to make the step into professional tennis," Halep, the No. 2 seed in Miami, told reporters during her WTA all-access hour on Wednesday.
Andreescu took the advice to heart. A few months later, she stopped playing junior tournaments outside of Grand Slams and, in 2018, made a full-time transition to the pros. "It was a step forward I needed to take, and it was always in the back of my mind," Andreescu said. "But Simona gave me that extra push. She also said to make sure I have a good schedule, take breaks and don't play too many tournaments in a row, because a lot of athletes get burnt out. She is one of my idols, so coming from her, it meant a lot."
Andreescu has another connection to the Romanian star. Born in Mississauga, Ontario, to Romanian immigrants, Andreescu -- "Bibi" to her parents and close friends (and her Twitter followers) -- briefly relocated to her parents' hometown, where, at 7, she picked up her first racket. They returned to Canada a few years later and, at 11, she joined Tennis Canada and began honing her well-rounded game.
"Maybe it's because I was getting bored on the court that I tried everything that I could -- drop shots, mixing it up," said Andreescu, who will represent Team Americas in the Aurora Games, the inaugural all-women's sports and entertainment festival in Albany, New York, just before the US Open. "I noticed that it was throwing off a lot of players during junior tournaments, so I kept improving it. Now it's paying off. It's also throwing off all these high-level players, so I'm not going to change my game."
In 2019 alone, Andreescu has made the finals in Auckland and the semifinals in Acapulco in addition to her win at Indian Wells, beating six top-20 opponents and winning more matches this year (29 after Thursday) than any other woman in tennis. "Bianca's game is so complete. That she is able to combine power with finesse at such a young age is very rare," Evert said. "For her to hit heavy balls, take the racket out of your hand with her power, and also have deft drop shots and nice lobs, it's pretty unthinkable. I am also amazed at how consistent she's been. Even Serena and Venus at 17, 18, they were erratic. They were powerful, but they also made a lot of errors."
Friday afternoon, Andreescu will face her next test: a second-round match against young American Sofia Kenin, 20, the last woman to beat her (in the semifinals in Acapulco). If Andreescu is able to continue her impressive run in Miami and capture the "Sunshine Double," she'd be only the fourth woman to do so, and the first woman to win two titles in 2019.
"Since I've known her, Bianca fears no one," Dasnieres de Veigy said. "No matter if she plays Serena Williams one day, she will not fear her. They are all just players she can beat, and so far she has beat every top player she has faced. She is fearless."
And she is now a name everyone in tennis knows -- even if they might not be able to spell it yet.