Despite banking £198,000 by reaching the fourth round at Melbourne Park and being two wins from becoming tennis’ latest millionaire, it doesn’t take long for 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva to come crashing back down to earth. Her homework is due.
‘I still don’t like chemistry,’ Andreeva said after being Ons Jabeur in round two. ‘I still have to do a lot of school.
‘It actually started two days ago, so I have to do it.’
The young Russian, who has earned more than £820,000 in career earnings to date and will be a tennis millionaire with two more wins in Melbourne, can be unintentionally funny when she addresses the media.
Her command of English is excellent – more than five years with a tutor has paid off handsomely – and, quelle surprise, she has become a darling for tennis fans.
In truth, Andreeva’s latest run at a Slam looked over a matter of hours ago. Having split 6-1 sets with Diane Parry, Andreeva was in tears at 5-1 down in the third. It looked to be over and the match commentator was questioning her mental strength.
The youngster who, along with her sister Erika, is fulfilling her mother’s dream to raise a tennis player, had to dig deeper than ever before.
Mirra Andreeva is looking to go further than she has ever gone before at a Grand Slam event
The fun-loving teen, pictured alongside her older sister Erika, is keeping her feet on the ground
She roared into round four of the Australian Open with the most improbable of comebacks
But the Siberian-born teen sensation simply refuses to quit – it is not in her DNA – and she produced one of the most heroic of comebacks to become only the fourth player in the last 30 years to reach the women’s singles fourth round before turning 17 at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open (Martina Hingis, Tatiana Golovin and Coco Gauff).
It is ninth seed Barbora Krejcikova up next.
Fans were glued to their screens for the most improbable of comebacks and yet one in particular, her idol Andy Murray, left her beaming more than most.
‘Honestly, I didn’t really think that he would watch a match, then after he would tweet, he would comment something,’ she said.
Before Andreeva headed into her press conference, Murray posted on X: ‘Andreeva down 5-1 in third. Commentator ‘she really needs to work on mental side of her game.. she’s too hard on herself when she’s losing’ 30 minutes later 7-6 Andreeva wins.
‘Maybe the reason she turned the match round is because of her mental strength. Maybe she turned the match around because she is hard on herself and demands more of herself when she’s losing/playing badly? Winner.’
‘Honestly, I will try to print it out somehow. I don’t know, I will put it in a frame,’ a gleeful Andreeva said.
‘I will bring it everywhere with me. I will maybe put it on the wall so I can see it every day.’
Andy Murray leapt to the teenager’s defence on social media after she was criticised by a commentator, who was questioning the ‘mental side of her game’ when down 5-1 in final set
Murray and Andreeva have formed strong bond after it was revealed the Brit is the latter’s idol
Andreeva is charming and mature beyond her years, which has made her a hit with Aussie fans
For a while Andreeva was too nervous to even go up and speak to Murray.
‘I met Andy Murray here,’ she said after her second round win over Barbora Krejčíková at Wimbledon last summer.
‘But I’m too shy to talk to him. When I see him, I try to leave the facility super quick just to not to talk to him because I’m super shy!’
Now he stands as one of her biggest defenders and champions. Funny how things work out.
Andreeva hails from Krasnoyarsk, a city on the Yenisei River in Siberia, but moved to Sochi in a bid to step up her tennis training after her mother pushed her and her sister into taking it much more seriously, before they later moved to Cannes.
It has been said that her mother, Raisa, fell in love with tennis after seeing Russian ace Marat Safin win the Australian Open in 2005. From there, the dream was born for her children to be tennis stars.
Andreeva is happy ‘still being a kid’ and unwinding watching Netflix – like any other 16-year-old girl, she insists.
‘I do everything that the girls my age do. I love to watch some series. I have to do my school. I have no choice. I have to suffer for two more years, and that’s it,’ she joked.
‘When I have free time, sometimes I prefer to be alone, it depends on my mood.
‘But most of the time I watch Netflix if I’m honest.’
Andreeva has switched to an online Russian school in a bid to better juggle it with tennis
Her older sister Erika (right) is also a professional player, with their mum falling in love with the sport after watching fellow Russian Marat Safin win the Australian Open back in 2005
She grew up in Siberia but her mother soon moved, first to Sochi, then to Cannes, for tennis
Asked after her latest win over Parry, where she received a standing ovation for her sheer determination to turn the match around, Andreeva was quick to dismiss the idea that she is not a normal teenager.
What she has done to this point, reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam once again, claiming a near £200,000 prize, is normal, she claims.
‘I don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean, fourth round, yes, I’m 16, maybe it’s a bit new. Honestly, I don’t think that I did something amazing. I’m just trying to win a match. I’m just trying to fight,’ she continued.
‘Fourth round is nothing. Maybe if I win a slam, I have to win three more matches, and it’s really tough to win seven matches in a row.
‘I don’t think that I did something incredible. I have time to do it, I hope.’
Andreeva, who is managed by the IMG agency, has drawn paralells to Maria Sharapova and Emma Raducanu – but she is eager to carve out her own name.
Determined ‘not to be a diva’ and to ‘stay humble all the time’, this run to round four, where she faces an as-yet unknown opponent, Andreeva won’t get carried away, not with her homework still to finish.