Serena's coach: Andreescu will be No. 1 soon
NEW YORK -- Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams' coach, believes that Bianca Andreescu, the 19-year-old Canadian who will meet Williams in Saturday's US Open women's final, is on her way to the top ranking and will get there sooner rather than later.
"She's going to be No. 1 soon," Mouratoglou said in a meeting with reporters on Friday. "I mean, not too soon, but in the future, because she has everything that's needed to be No. 1. [I have] a lot of respect for her."
Andreescu has already become the first woman since Venus Williams to reach a US Open final in her debut tournament. Should she win the event, it would be after the fewest number of Grand Slam appearances since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon -- beating Williams in the final -- in 2004. This is just Andreescu's ninth tournament of the year, mainly because she missed a lot of playing time due to a shoulder injury. But it hasn't stopped her from winning three titles, two of which were in the elite WTA Premier category.
"[She has] a lot of tools in her game," Mouratoglou said. "[It's] a really complete game. She has the whole package. The amazing game, the physical [attributes] and the mental. She looks incredibly confident. She feels like she's where she belongs. That's the impression she gives."
Mouratoglou saved a bit of praise for his own player, saying of her recent struggles to return to top form:
"The first problem she had was not an injury, but her body transformed to become a mother. You don't come back to your previous body, which is the body of a professional top athlete, overnight. So that was the first goal, to be completely in shape and able to perform at the highest level physically.
"She finally got rid of her knee problem, and she was able to run without thinking about her knee. So now it's several weeks in a row, so I think her fitness just went up and up, and I think her movement now is better than I have ever seen since she became a mother."
The French coach conceded that Williams will be under considerable pressure as she strives once again to equal Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam singles title record (24), but it would be familiar territory. "I think Serena had to experience a bit of pressure in her life. And you can't think that she's not good dealing with pressure, [but] to be able to deal with pressure, you need to feel strong."
"For me," Mouratoglou said, "that's what happened. I think it's a totally different situation now because she can move."