Bianca Andreescu Returns to US Open and Seeks to Begin New Era of Stability | US Open tennis 2021
TTwo years ago, Bianca Andreescu seemed to have the world of tennis in the palm of her hand. Throughout the 2019 season, she emerged at the top of the women’s circuit under a unique set of circumstances. So many times she went to a tournament and struggled with injuries along the way. Yet despite each new setback, his forward momentum never stopped.
In his first full year on the WTA Tour at 18, Andreescu won the Indian Wells WTA 1000 tournament as a wildcard before suffering a five-month shoulder injury. Upon her return, she won the Rogers Cup, her home event in Canada, without any match practice. In her second, she upset Serena Williams in the US Open final to win her first major title.
Of all the memories she has created during this surprising breakthrough season, two qualities stand out. The first is the way she behaves on the court and the sheer energy that gushes out of her every time she competes. Andreescu is chaotic on the pitch and almost always the main character. She’s loud and intense, disgusted by anything that isn’t perfect. She didn’t care how her opponents reacted to her presence. And of course they react.
When his game is in full swing, it’s also not hard to see why Andreescu’s standards are so high. She’s strong and solid, armed with a destructive forehand that can pierce any defenses in the world, excellent athleticism and one of the best returns in the game. But what elevates her game is her sense. innate of the court. She weaves drop shots, kinky angles, and abrupt changes of pace and trajectory from her vast arsenal of punches. Andreescu is as adept at taking down opponents with a million paper cuts as she is at hitting them cleanly from the field.
This escape season came to an abrupt end. After the 2019 US Open, Andreescu tore his knee meniscus in her opener in the WTA Final in Shenzhen against Simona Halep and retired from her next game that week. She will no longer participate in the competition for 15 months.
Earlier this year, as she prepared for her return to competition, Andreescu spoke to The Observer from her hotel room in Australia and was full of hope and joy to return on tour. It’s been a year of learning how difficult the sport can be.
After being one of the players forced into a strict quarantine in Melbourne, Andreescu flatly lost in the second round of the Australian Open. When she resurfaced at the Miami Open, she made clear progress before it ended in a familiar result. After reaching the final where she faced Ashleigh Barty, she twisted her ankle and eventually retired from the game.
The struggles only continued. En route to Europe two months later, Andreescu tested positive for Covid-19 and was forced to withdraw from the Madrid and Rome Open. Once she was finally released from seclusion, her inexperience caught up with her on natural surfaces.
Always knowing how to play effectively on clay and grass, she lost in the first rounds of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. She quickly learned to look good in defeat: “I could cry a lot tonight,” Andreescu said after his loss in Paris. “But tomorrow is a new day.”
The wound remains his great enemy. Anytime she slides or moves in a way that isn’t entirely smooth, it’s hard not to wince at the possibility of her suffering another ruinous setback. Returning to Canada this month to defend her title in Montreal, Andreescu suffered a toe injury as she led Ons Jabeur by a set and slowly passed out. The pain was still present when she suffered a straight set loss in the first round of the next tournament in Cincinnati.
And as she returns to the US Open for the first time since her triumph in 2019, Andreescu finds herself on precarious ground. She hasn’t beaten a top 50 player since March. His win-loss record for the year is 13-9. His ranking of seven is an illusion. Due to the pandemic leaderboard freeze, Andreescu’s points at the 2019 US Open will not drop from his leaderboard until after this tournament. In fact, she is 35th in the WTA rankings.
However, this sport is not easy. Losses are inevitable and learning curves are part of what shapes great players. While determined to see great results immediately, Andreescu has emphasized over the past few months the need for her to think long term instead of letting short term results dominate her thoughts.
“I have to tell myself that I am not the same person then as I am today,” she said on Friday. “Taking so much free time, I feel like it has helped me in so many ways. But then getting into that competitive mindset brought me back a bit. I feel like this is also a reason why I didn’t get the results I wanted. But I really try to focus on the process and the long term because I’m also only 21.
Andreescu says she’s in a good position now. Since leaving for Europe, she has parted ways with her longtime coach Sylvain Bruneau due to her inability to travel with her full time, and has hired veteran Sven Groeneveld as Bruneau’s replacement. This will be their first of the four majors together. His recent losses have taught him to live a more balanced life instead of being consumed by tennis. She says she is healthy.
Next week, Andreescu will return to competing at the US Open after missing last year’s edition. She’s the sixth seed but, in truth, she’s way off the favorites list and out of the immediate limelight. Maybe she’ll like him there.