Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu has decided not to play at the Australian Open next month, saying she’d like more time to recover physically and mentally.
The 21-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., announced the decision on social media on Monday, noting that the many days of required quarantine for COVID-19 protocols and her grandmother’s COVID-19 health scare both took a huge toll.
“The past two years have been very challenging for me for a variety of reasons,” wrote the 2019 U.S. Open winner.
Andreescu said she spent “multiple weeks” in quarantine isolation, and her grandmother spent “several weeks” in the ICU fighting the virus, “something that really hit me hard.
“A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders.”
Andreescu’s last tournament appearance was Indian Wells in October, where she was the defending champion but was eliminated in the third round by Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. The loss was her first in nine matches at Indian Wells.
“I want to give myself extra time to reset, recover and grow from this [as cliche as that sounds], and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself, because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever,” she wrote.
Andreescu recently wrote a children’s book Bibi’s Got Game about tennis, meditation and perseverance, that set for publication May 31, 2022.
WATCH | Andreescu suffers 3rd-round loss at Indian Wells:
Andreescu was 19 when she capped a breakthrough season by upsetting her idol, Serena Williams, in the U.S. Open final two years ago. Soon after, Andreescu rose to a career-best No. 4 in the WTA rankings.
But in October 2019, she tore the meniscus in her left knee and was gone from the tour for about 15 months.
Andreescu returned to action at this year’s Australian Open, where Williams offered this assessment: “She has a bright future. She’s really young; rather incredibly mature. I’ve always said I think her light burns brightly. She really has a great game to continue to win more Grand Slams.”
Andreescu won her opening match in Melbourne, then lost in the second round. She wound up going 4-4 in Grand Slam tournaments in 2021, including a fourth-round run at the U.S. Open and first-round exits at the French Open and Wimbledon.
That was part of an overall 17-12 mark on tour with no titles this season, leaving her ranking at No. 46 entering 2022.
She said in April she had tested positive for COVID-19. In June, she announced that she would no longer be coached by Sylvain Bruneau after four years together.
What Andreescu left unclear Monday was when she will be back on court.