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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday October 5, 2021

Returning to the scene of her first WTA title has Canada’s Bianca Andreescu excited about what the future holds. It has been a long journey for the 2019 US Open champion over the last two years, but her travails have not been in vain. Andreescu tells reporters that she has learned some valuable lessons along the way. The first lesson that comes to mind? Live in the present.

Tennis Express

Andreescu says that she has fixated on her past success and allowed that to frustrate her during the past two years, first as she worked her way through a litany of injuries and missed a whole season, then, after her return to the tour in 2021, as she struggled to replicate the mind-blowing success she achieved in 2019.

“I would say the main thing this year for me was to stop looking in the past because that's what I was doing a lot and that's what was really ruining me,” Andreescu said on Tuesday in her pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells. “I would always tell myself 'Oh I want to play like I did back in 2019, why aren't I playing like I used to?'

“But then I really had to switch that mindset and start focusing in the present moment because the past is the past. Even in the future I'd really look into the future as well, so I just stopped that and I told myself to live every moment like it's your last and obviously it doesn't come easy, because I still feel like my mind is all over the place, but I know it's getting better and, you know, with the help of meditation and a good team around me that's definitely going to improve."

It has been a solid return to the tour for Andreescu and she has demonstrated her knack for playing her best tennis on the big stages, even if her body hasn’t always cooperated this year.

She reached the final at Miami in just her third event of the season, but had to retire in the second set against Ash Barty. This summer she was playing brilliantly at the US Open, but ran out of steam in the third set of an epic battle with Maria Sakkari, and lost in three sets. It hasn’t been a perfect season but the game still appears to be there for Andreescu, who is still just 21 years of age.

She says that reflecting back on her past success is a positive experience, but it’s important for her not to compare the two periods of her career. It’s better just to take the motivational message: winning on the biggest stages in tennis is something she has done before, and therefore it is something she can do again.

"I think that looking back into the past in a positive way is actually beneficial," she said. "I was looking at it in a more negative way because I was getting too down on myself, saying 'Oh, why? What if?' and just having all these thoughts, but something that I actually do is go back to 2019 and watch videos of myself in that position and I try to feel the emotions that I felt back then.

"For this tournament I actually did the same thing a couple of days ago and I know Indian Wells they posted a video of my best shots from the tournament and just seeing that really brings me into a good place, and knowing that I won the tournament it just brings you in a really good place. So it's just shifting from that negative way of thinking in the past to the positive."

Groeneveld Provides a Confidence Boost and Clarity

Now a few months into her partnership with coach Sven Groeneveld, Andreescu says she is growing a lot under the Dutchman’s tutelage.

"I think the biggest impact is the experience he has in the game," she said. "He's really taught me a lot in that area, for example, winning a Grand Slam, how to react after that even if it is two years later, how to bounce back through difficult times, because I have been having a difficult time and sometimes I felt like I wasn't dealing with it in the best way but I feel like I am starting to get better in that area with the help of Sven and his experience."

At the US Open Andreescu showed her trust for Groeneveld and took his advice by playing a more aggressive power game. She told reporters at the time that it helped her simplify things in her mind. Known for her improvisational skills and variety, the decision was something of a departure for Andreescu, but it worked well for her at the Open. Look for more of the same this week at Indian Wells – Andreescu, seeded 16, will face either Alison Riske or a qualifier as her title defense gets underway.

"On the tennis side I would say he really focuses on small details and I've noticed in my practice and even my matches that that really makes a huge difference,” Andreescu said of Groeneveld, “so if I can continue to apply the little things I'm sure my game will become more complete and better than ever."