It’s been a difficult year for Bianca Andreescu, one of the great players in the game who rapidly rose to a career high of world No. 4 in 2019. She did this after winning a breakthrough Premiere Mandatory title at Indian Wells and a maiden slam at the U.S. Open that same year. All while she was still a teenager. The Canadian player had begun 2019 sitting outside the Top 100, but concluded it as the heir-apparent to Serena Williams’s hard-hitting game.
By all accounts, 2020 was expected to be a banner year for the superstar athlete: her personal goal of overtaking the top WTA spot and adding to her single grand slam seemed like very attainable objectives.
But the physical toll of Andreescu’s strenuous game caught up with her, resulting in a knee injury that took her out during the end-of-year WTA Finals in 2019, stalling the incredible momentum at the outset of 2020. However, injuries have always been an issue for the young player, and just like she had done so many times in the past, ‘Bibi’ likely would have bounced back.
Her fans have become used to the stops and starts of her career due to a style of play that has chipped away at her consistency. Granted, her ability to return in top form after injury will only become more challenging as she gets older. Still, Andreescu would have probably resumed a commanding presence at some point after her withdrawal from the 2020 Australian Open, once her knee fully recovered.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, which wreaked havoc for the rest of the 2020 season, inserting a hard stop to any resurgence for the 2019 U.S. Open winner. A vastly competitive and high-adrenaline player, Bianca Andreescu is a contender who thrives on competition. The Mississauga, Ontario native has perhaps suffered the most among the high-ranking WTA players by the uneven return of professional tournaments.
When Bibi came back to competitive play at this year’s Australian Open, she was seeded eighth, but went out in the second round. The Canadian improved her form at her next Australian tournament, the Phillip Island Trophy, but was ultimately defeated in the semi’s. Still, Andreescu thrilled again at the Miami Open with victories over top players Amanda Anisimova, Garbine Muguruza, Sara Sorribes Tormo, and Maria Sakkari on her way to a fascinating final with world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty. Disappointingly, she retired with another injury—this time, her foot—in the second set, 3–6, 0–4.
Bad luck struck with the 20-year-old testing positive for COVID-19 once she arrived in Spain to begin this year’s clay season. However, after recovering, Andreescu showed promise again at a warm-up event in Strasbourg, winning her first two matches, but withdrawing, yet again, with abdominal discomfort from her quarterfinal appearance.
Andreescu’s early round exit from the French Open, going out after a grueling three-setter against No. 85 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, 6-7(1), 7-6(2), 9-7, has raised questions about her talent for comeback.
“It sucks right now for me, and I can just learn from it,” Andreescu said, after her FO first-round loss, according to Sportsnet Canada. “Because that’s what life’s all about: you learn from your mistakes. I made a couple today, but that’s part of life.
“I just want to keep my head up, feel what I feel right now. I might cry a lot tonight, but tomorrow is a new day.
“I think I prepared super, super well for this tournament. That’s why to me it’s very disappointing, because I thought I could go far,” Andreescu continued at the time.
A week after her first-round loss at Roland Garros, Bianca Andreescu announced via Twitter, that she had ended her coaching relationship with Sylvain Bruneau, also Tennis Canada’s Head of Women’s Pro and Transition Tennis, who had been a huge contribution to her enormous success in 2019.
— Bianca (@Bandreescu_) June 8, 2021
“It has been an absolutely incredible journey to work with Bianca,” said Bruneau via a Tennis Canada press release. “As her coach, I experienced unbelievable moments and emotions and it is something that I will always cherish. Bianca is not only an exceptional athlete, but she’s also an exceptional person. It was really a privilege to train her for the last few years. I wish her and her family all the very best for the future. I know that she will be extremely successful and that her best tennis is still ahead of her.”
The dissolution of their partnership is a shock as Bibi Andreescu is getting ready for the upcoming summer grass-court season. The world No. 7 has committed to appearing at Berlin and Eastbourne events before the next grand slam at Wimbledon. However, one wonders if she will continue her downward spiral.
“Hopefully, the hard work that I did put in today and over the past couple of weeks will really show hopefully for the grass, for the hard-court season, all of that,” Andreescu said after her French Open loss to Zidansek.
The past year and a half have been a roller-coaster for the Canadian. Now coachless, things look even shakier for Bianca Andreescu. It’s improbable that the Romanian Canadian will find resurgence during the upcoming grass court season, which is not her strongest surface.
However, Andreescu’s tennis prowess shines on hard courts and the penultimate hard-court season around the U.S. Open will be a strong indicator if she can bounce back from her tumultuous year.