The 2020 U.S. Open is here, but defending women’s singles champion Bianca Andreescu is not.
The Canadian tennis star tweeted Aug. 13 that she was withdrawing from the tournament despite previously committing.
“After many discussions with those closest to me, I have made the difficult decision not to return to New York this year,” she wrote in a post on social media. “I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level. The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there.
“However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid [sic] pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”
The Mississauga, Ont., native, who burst onto the tennis scene in 2019 and is currently ranked No. 6 in the world, has not played a competitive match since suffering a knee injury in late October of last year. Andreescu retired after the first set against Karolina Pliskova at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China, on Oct. 30 and told her coach, Sylvain Bruneau, during the match, “My knee twisted, I heard a crack, (the trainer) validated me that it’s my meniscus. I can’t bend my knee at all. It’s cracking every time I walk and it friggin’ hurts.”
Andreescu skipped the Australian Open last January, saying that it was “too soon in the rehab process,” and she did not compete despite being named to Canada’s Fed Cup qualifying team in February. After withdrawing from Indian Wells before the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she told Sportsnet’s Caroline Cameron via Instagram Live in early April that she may have been close to returning.
“I’ve been working hard on my fitness — that’s about it, whatever I can do at home,” Andreescu said, citing COVID-19-related restrictions in Toronto and Ontario regarding outdoor activities. “Hopefully when the weather becomes better [and] if the parks reopen, if the whole thing starts to settle down a little bit, hopefully, I can start playing again.
“It’s tough when you don’t have an end goal in mind, like a tournament to work for. But if I do have the privilege to start playing again, I would so love to because I was off for like three [months] and I was kind of ready to play basically right when all this started. So, it’s kind of bad timing.”
Andreescu’s victory last year marked the first time a Canadian man or woman won a Grand Slam singles championship. She defeated six-time U.S. Open women’s singles champion Serena Williams in straight sets.