How Maria Sharapova predicted Mirra Andreeva to have a breakthrough 2024 before Russian teenager's French Open heroics

Maria Sharapova and Mirra Andreeva
Maria Sharapova and Mirra Andreeva

Mirra Andreeva's rapid rise to tennis stardom continued as the Russian prodigy made it to the semifinals of the Grand Slam for the first time. The 17-year-old defeated World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka to book a place in the final four at Roland-Garros 2024.

Russia delivering tennis superstars is quite a familiar concept. Andreeva is following in the footsteps of the great Maria Sharapova, who burst onto the tennis scene as a teenage prodigy before going on to win multiple Grand Slam titles.

Interestingly enough, Sharapova had predicted Andreeva's rapid rise to form in 2024. The Russian superstar was full of praise for the 17-year-old and predicted that Andreeva would have incredible success in the coming years.

Maria Sharapova backed Mirra Andrevva for success in 2024

Speaking to the WTA before the French Open, Maria Sharapova was asked about the player who will have a breakthrough season in 2024. The Russian picked her countrywoman Mirra Andreeva and admitted that the 17-year-old will have a 'phenomenal year' ahead.

Sharapova claimed that she watched a few of Andrevva's matches in 2023 and saw the potential in the 17-year-old. The 5-time Grand Slam champion was impressed with Andreeva's attitude and backed the young Russian for a big future ahead.

"I want to say Mirra Andreeva will have a phenomenal year. I followed a little bit of her matches in 23’ and I think she has a strong attitude [and] she has the game to back it up. Genuinely, just like her approach and her sensibility in the game. And I think she has a very bright future ahead of her," Sharapova said.

Mirra Andrevva is a big fan of Maria Sharapova herself. The young star has admitted that she likes to watch Sharapova's matches on YouTube, but has denied the claims that she wants to follow in the footsteps of the Russian superstar.

"People may say, perhaps, that I’m following her path and doing the same as her, but I don’t focus on that. I have my own career, my own life. I will only do my best to create a great career. I watch her, just as I watch a lot of the rest of the field," Mirra Andreeva said.

Mirra Andreeva's rapid rise to tennis stardom

Mirra Andreeva received a wildcard entry to compete at the Madrid Open in 2023, aged 15. The Russian showed off her skills on the world stage, defeating top WTA stars such as Leylah Fernandez, Magda Linette and Beatriz Haddad Maia before losing out to the eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth round.

Despite her exit, the young Russian left a mark on world tennis and the players and fans alike started to take note of the tennis prodigy. Andreeva then followed it up by reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time.

The young Russian was ranked within the Top 60 in the year-end WTA rankings, but her excellent start to the 2024 season has propelled her to No. 38 in world ranking.

Now, with a semifinal run at the 2024 French Open, the Russian is sure to climb further up the ladder. Still only 17 years of age, Andreeva looks set to take over the mantle from Maria Sharapova and take Russian tennis to the top again.

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Edited by Aayush Kapoor
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