MELBOURNE, Dec 7 (IANS): Canadian tennis star and 2019 US Open champion, 21-year-old Bianca Andreescu, on Tuesday became the first high-profile woman player to pull out of the Australian Open — the opening major of 2022 — due to mental health issues arising from “quarantining”.
Andreescu, who reached a career-high ranking of world No. 4 in October 2019 before sliding to a current ranking of 46, said on twitter that she doesn’t feel like herself on a lot of days, “especially while I was training and/or playing matches”.
In a long statement posted on social media, Andreescu said, “As you all know, the last two years have been very challenging for me for a variety of reasons. Especially this year in particular, I spent multiple weeks in isolation quarantining, which affected me greatly — both mentally and physically. In addition, my grandmother spent several weeks in the ICU for a COVID infection, 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. I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around and it took its toll on me,” said Andreescu.
“I want to give myself extra time to re-set, 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. I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train, and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season.”
Plagued by injuries, Andreescu missed all of the 2020 season. She played her first match in more than a year at the Australian Open in February. Less than two months later, she was into a WTA 1000 final at the Miami Open, where she tallied wins over Spain’s Garbine Muguruza and Greece’s Maria Sakkari before retiring in the final against No.1 from Australia Ashleigh Barty.
She announced a split with coach Sylvain Bruneau in June and brought on veteran coach Sven Groeneveld, according to wtatennis.com. Andreescu finished her 2021 season with a third-round loss to Anett Kontaveit of Estonia at Indian Wells.