A back injury may have sidelined Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu in recent months, but the athlete says she has high expectations for herself in 2024.
Andreescu spoke with Narcity about what she's currently working on, where Canadians can expect to see her compete next, and how she stays in top shape with her diet and exercise routines.
The Mississauga, Ontario native says she's focusing on her recovery for now following a back injury that caused her to withdraw from the 2023 U.S. Open.
"The goal is to be ready for the Australian Open so at this point, I'm just taking things down day by day, but I'm doing my best, you know, to do the rehab, to rest, recover, eat well, all that stuff to get back as soon as possible."
As for what her recovery looks like, nutrition and exercise are a big part of that.
We spoke with the Canadian tennis star while she was in Toronto and here's what she had to say about what her day-to-day diet and fitness routine look like and where she hopes to be in 2024.
What does Bianca Andreescu eat while she's training?
Andreescu says she tries to stick to eating whole foods as well as foods that are gluten free and dairy free as much as possible because they cause the most inflammation. Protein is a big part of her daily diet and she says she needs it both before and after her matches.
"I wouldn't say I'm on a very strict diet which is nice, but [my diet has] helped me. I've experimented in the past and now I know what works well for me."
Andreescu also notes that working with nutrition specialists helps keep her on track.
"What works best for me is when I have somebody really take control over that because I'm definitely not as strict on myself when I don't have somebody kind of there helping me out. I've always been a stress eater," she explained.
"I really have to set my intention on my goal, which is to become number one in the world and how can I get there? I need to really follow a diet [and] having a nutritionist really helped me. Or a physiologist. I've worked with both. Right now I'm working with a physiologist."
While she does try to eat healthy foods as much as possible, the professional athlete admits she has a big sweet tooth.
"I always make sure I have a little something sweet after most of my meals, more towards the evening, and I try to stick with a dark chocolate something on the healthier side," she told Narcity.
What does Bianca Andreescu eat before a tennis match?
Nutrition doesn't just play a big role during training, but on the day of a tournament as well.
Andreescu says she makes sure to eat whole foods a couple of hours before her match.
"It would be a handful of potatoes with a handful of grilled vegetables and then I would say 25 grams of protein. That would be two and a half hours before my match," she said.
Then 15 minutes before she steps on the court, Andreescu has a snack, which could be an apple or banana with some almond butter.
Does Bianca Andreescu's diet change at all?
Andreescu isn't as strict with her nutrition when she's not competing, because it can stress her out. However, she tries to always eat as healthy as she can.
While the types of foods she eats roughly stay the same, the amount depending on if she's training. If she's training then she'll eat more, and if she's not training then she'll cut back on food.
"The thing I am strict about is what I drink and what I eat during practice and during matches, and how much I drink," she expressed.
"During changeovers I'll take three sips of water and I kind of swish it around my mouth, with five sips of electrolytes [...] and then I'll have either a banana or dates but not too much."
The tennis star also highlights that her food choices change depending on her menstrual cycle.
"During my luteal phase, I'll eat more soups, I'll eat more starchy potatoes, starchy vegetables [...] different types of meat in different stages."
What food does Bianca Andreescu eat on a cheat day?
Andreescu feels pretty good about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it's all about balance and cheat days once a week or every two weeks are a must.
So what does her ideal cheat meal consist of?
"I love pizza so I'll probably go for a nice pepperoni pizza. I'm very simple with that. A pizza with garlic sauce."
Andreescu says she has her go-to pizza places in Toronto and loves North of Brooklyn Pizza and the gluten-free pizzas at Pizza Nova.
What does Bianca Andreescu's exercise routine look like?
When it comes to her exercise routine, Andreescu says her workouts change depending on where she is in the season.
"The further away I am from competition, I'll work more on longer cardio, strength, building muscle," she told Narcity.
"And then when I get closer to competition, I'll work more on [...] a lot of quick movements, agility, short sprints just to stay very elastic because tennis, yes, it's an endurance sport, but it's also quick movements."
The Canadian athlete also likes to change up her workouts. If she's running one day, then she'll swim the following day.
"I like to keep things different because I get bored quite easily. I'll do pilates, instead of just doing core in the gym. I'll do more specific things like that, or yoga. For me yoga is very important. I'll do yoga I'd say three times a week."
How does Bianca Andreescu feel when she looks back on her wins in 2019?
Andreescu had a breakout year in 2019 and she continues to look back on it fondly.
The then 19-year-old Canadian tennis star won both the U.S. and Canadian Opens after defeating Serena Williams at the two tournaments.
Her wins also made history as Andreescu became Canada's first Grand Slam singles champion after winning the U.S. title and then her win at the Canadian Open made her the first Canadian to win the home tournament since 1969, according to the Canadian Olympic Committee.
She says those wins are "beautiful" to have "under [her] belt."
"I really believed in myself, I continued to persevere," she said after noting that she went through a lot of injuries up until that point.
"Looking back I'm like, if I can do it at that age, I can continue to do it at this age because my goal is to continue winning Grand Slams, become number one. The Olympics are next year. That's a huge goal of mine."
Andreescu is aware she's had some "bad luck" with injuries in 2023 and says she's trying to figure out if there are any underlying causes.
"I am still only 23. I hope to have another at least 10 years in my belt. I'm hoping for the best but it's obviously very nice to look back at 2019 because every time I do it, it gives me confidence."
When will Bianca Andreescu compete again?
Andreescu says she won't be playing for the rest of 2023 because she wants to focus on her recovery and come back strong next year.
Her goal is to be ready for the Australian Open and then hopefully head to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
If her recovery goes according to plan, the tennis star's road to the Olympics will begin at the Australian Open in January.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.