Russian Tennis star Andreeva refuses to shake umpire’s hand

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Mirra Andreeva complains to the umpire, Louise Engzell, after being docked a point during her defeat against Madison Keys at Wimbledon. Photograph: —The Guardian
Mirra Andreeva complains to the umpire, Louise Engzell, after being docked a point during her defeat against Madison Keys at Wimbledon. Photograph: —The Guardian

Mirra Andreeva, the talented 16-year-old Russian tennis player, showcased both her potential and her struggles with controlling her emotions during her fourth-round match at Wimbledon. 

Despite holding a one-set and 5-1 lead, Andreeva eventually fell to Madison Keys in a hard-fought battle, with Keys winning 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2. The match was marred by an incident where Andreeva received a point penalty for throwing her racket.

During the match, Andreeva expressed her frustration to the umpire, Louise Engzell, disputing the decision to penalise her for throwing her racket after slipping and falling. Andreeva insisted that it was unintentional and disagreed with the umpire’s judgment. Furthermore, she chose not to shake hands with the umpire, as she believed the decision made by Engzell was incorrect.

Andreeva, who only made her WTA debut in May, has shown immense promise in her recent performances. She reached the third round at the French Open and continued her strong run at Wimbledon, which is expected to elevate her ranking to approximately No. 64. This achievement will grant her direct entry into prestigious tournaments.

Dealing with emotions on the court is a challenge for many athletes, including tennis legends like Roger Federer. Andreeva acknowledged that she must help herself in managing her temperament and has developed her own method of self-reflection. Before going to sleep, she engages in internal dialogue, speaking to herself as she would to her mother or coach, offering guidance and analysis of her game.

Despite the disappointment of her loss, Andreeva displayed remarkable maturity during interviews, handling questions thoughtfully and with confidence. Former doubles star Todd Woodbridge compared her game and court smarts to Tracy Austin and praised her fiery spirit. However, he also emphasised the importance of gradual progress in managing expectations.

Having gained valuable experience at Wimbledon, Andreeva now looks forward to the upcoming hard-court season in the US. She expressed her admiration for Andy Murray and hopes to meet him in the future. Keys, her conqueror in the match, advised Andreeva to ignore external opinions unless they truly matter to her.

Andreeva’s journey in tennis is still in its early stages, but her talent, determination, and developing maturity suggest a bright future ahead. As she continues to refine her game and emotional control, she is poised to make further strides in the sport.

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