‘Tennis must protect Mirra Andreeva as we need girls like her’

Mirra Andreeva during a match

Mirra Andreeva is currently the toast of the French Open and Ons Jabeur is certainly a big fan of the teenager, saying “she is good for our sport”.

The Russian protégé, who turned 16 on April 29, only made her WTA Tour main draw debut in October last year and eight months later she finds herself in the third round at Roland Garros.

She is set to jump into the top 100 of the WTA Rankings for the first time on the back of her 6-1, 6-2 victory over Diane Parry on Thursday.

But it is not just on the court that Andreeva is winning people over as her bubbly personality and forthright interviews have won her many supporters.

She recently revealed that she would like to have a hitting session with her idol Jabeur in future, stating: “I met her because my coaches, they are in a pretty good relationship with her coach. So, yes, I met her a couple of times here. We just say hi to each other, and that’s it. Just for this moment. I hope it will change. Maybe we can hit sometime.”

World No 7 Jabeur is also hopeful that they will practice at some point, but more importantly she is impressed with Andreeva’s personality.

“I’m really impatient to practice with her and to see her level because if she’s in the third round, it’s because she has something,” she said. “I hope that the world of tennis will protect her because we need girls like her.”

The Tunisian added: “It’s good for our sport to have someone like her, and most of all she speaks very well.

“She’s funny, and she plays very well, and she shows on the court that she’s not just 16 years old. She’s here to win matches. I love her personality. I hope she’s not going to change because we need girls like her.”

Andreeva will return to action on Saturday as she will be involved in an all-teenage clash with Coco Gauff.

The 19-year-old Gauff, who made a name for herself when she reached the main draw at Wimbledon at 15 years and three months in 2019, claimed a 6-2, 6-3 win over Austria’s Julia Grabher to book her place in the third round.

The American believes age will be just a number when they step onto the court.

“When I was her age, I didn’t think about – and I’m sure she’s not thinking about her age on the court,” Gauff said. “And all the people who’ve played against me when I was her age, I don’t know if they were thinking about my age. I doubt they were.

“I feel like it really doesn’t play a factor regarding when we step on the court. Maybe there could be an experience thing that maybe could show, but honestly I really doubt it when it’s someone of her level.”

READ MORE: Mirra Andreeva reveals dreams of ‘winning 25 Grand Slam titles’