Bianca Andreescu's crushing statement on history with injuries, mental health issues

After a breakthrough 2019 season, Andreescu battled challenges and adversity several times in the last couple of years.

by Dzevad Mesic
SHARE
Bianca Andreescu's crushing statement on history with injuries, mental health issues
© Getty Images Sport - Mark Kolbe

Bianca Andreescu is nearing a return amids an eight-month absence but the 2019 US Open champion admits she feels older than 23 after years of struggling with injuries and also dealing with mental health issues. 

Andreescu, who will celebrate her 24th birthday in June, made a lightning start to her career in 2019 when she won WTA 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Toronto before becoming a Grand Slam champion at the US Open. At the time, Andreescu was widely tipped to be a top player for many more years and probably achieve a lot more success in the coming years. 

But five years later, Andreescu has yet to win a title since 2019 and she has a long injury history, which has been forced her to miss significant time several times in the last couple of years. The most recent injury setback - which Andreescu experienced during the summer when she picked up a back injury - has seen the Canadian being out of action since August. 

In late 2021, Andreescu announced she was taking a break from tennis to address her mental health. While Andreescu managed to do some great work on herself at the time and return to tennis in 2022 April, dealing with injuries again definitely wasn't an easy thing to accept mentally. 

"I don't feel like my body is 23 years old because of all the injuries, I've had very bad luck. The universe likes to test us in different ways. The toughest test of my life is dealing with physical injuries, on top of mental health issues, which kind of go hand in hand," Andreescu said on the Match Point Canada podcast.

"I don't regret any of them, I have learned a lot about myself through the challenges I have had to face more than through the wins and happy times."

Bianca Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu © Getty Images Sport - Minas Panagiotakis
 

Andreescu is ready to play again

After struggling with a back injury in Washington, Andreescu decided to give a shot to Montreal in early August. But it didn't go well as Andreescu was pretty evidently struggling in a big way during a 3-6 2-6 loss to Camila Giorgi in the first round. 

Following her Montreal exit, Andreescu skipped the US Open and she also announced in December that she wouldn't be ready for the Australian Open. Andreescu, who also didn't manage to return during Indian Wells and Miami, also skipped the start of the clay season but she is slated to return at a WTA 250 tournament in Rabat, which starts on May 19th.

Ahead of her return, Andreescu says she has had a great preparation and feels mentally and physically ready to compete again.

"I'm feeling really good and I'll be ready to play Rabat, which is in about two weeks," Andreescu said.

"That's very exciting for me, I've been training basically the past three months. Definitely the longest pre-season I've had. I feel like every time I've been injured, I keep saying that I've had a long pre-season as my longest pre-season but this one has topped them all. I mean, three months is crazy."

Bianca Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu © Getty Images Sport - Alex Pantling
 

Andreescu aims to make her Olympic debut

In 2021, Andreescu skipped the Tokyo Olympics over COVID-19 concerns. But now that she is healthy again and has no same concerns again, Andreescu is hoping to make her Olympic debut and represent Canada at the 2024 Paris Olympics, which starts on July 26th. 

Since she has been out for eight months, Andreescu has plummetted to No. 225 in the world - which makes her far away from the cut off. But she has a protected ranking to use and that should help her in her bid to make the Olympics. 

"I have the opportunity to use my protective ranking, which is used if you're gone from the sport due to injury or pregnancy. I've been off for, I guess, eight months now so I'm able to use that. My protected ranking would be in the 60s, low 60s so I'm hoping that I'll be able to play," Andreescu explained.

"I think playing the tournaments before that could potentially help me get into the main draw, and maybe some people might not come. It's a cut-off of 54 and it's basically through ranking. And so I think I have a really good chance of making it and it's been my goal ever since I was a little girl. If I can, you know, be up on that stage, whether I win or lose, obviously, I want to win, but just raising up that Canadian flag and representing my country will mean the world to me."

Bianca Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu © Getty Images Sport - Ian MacNicol
 

After Rabat, Andreescu is also expected to make her Grand Slam return at the French Open.

Bianca Andreescu
SHARE