Bianca Andreescu revealed she and Serena Williams exchanged words in the locker room that she will ‘cherish’ after winning the US Open title.
Andreescu, the 15th seed, showed poise and character in her maiden Grand Slam final to beat the 23-time Major champion 6-3 7-5.
It caps a stunning year for the 19-year-old, who has also won Premier Mandatory events at Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup.
With Williams’ longevity and status in tennis, she has been a source of inspiration to many of the young players coming up on the WTA Tour.
And speaking in her post-match press conference, Andreescu spoke warmly about Williams’ impact and the private moment they had in the locker room after the match.
She said: “I’m sure I’m not the only person that’s looked up to her. She’s an inspiration to many, many people, not only athletes.
“What she’s done off the court, too. She’s truly a champion.
“Above all, she’s very kind-hearted. She came up to me in the locker room, she said some really nice things, which I’ll cherish for a really, really long time.
“But, yeah, I’ve really strived to be like her. Who knows? Maybe I can be even better.”
In her own press conference, Williams was also complimentary about Andreescu.
She said: “I felt like Bianca plays well under pressure. She played really well at Indian Wells. She was definitely not a favorite there, but she goes out and she plays hard.
“She does what she does best, and that’s move up to the ball, that’s hit winners, that’s play with a ton of intensity.
“I just feel like she did that really, really well today.”
It was 20 years since Williams won her first US Open title and after coming so close, she rued not being able to produce her best.
She said: “I feel like in 20 years, I definitely will be like, Wow, that wasn’t so bad.
“It’s very hard right now in the moment to, like, take this and say, It didn’t work out for you today, but it’s really hard right now to take that moment in and to say you did okay, because I don’t believe I did.
“I believe I could have played better. I believe I could have done more. I believe I could have just been more Serena today.
“I honestly don’t think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in Grand Slam finals.”