Bianca Andreescu is the latest tennis star to withdraw from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, following on the heels of compatriot Denis Shapovalov. With the two top ranked tennis players out of the draw in Tokyo, it will be a major missed opportunity for Canada.
Andreescu and Shapo would have been big contenders for Canadian Gold this summer.
Skipping the Olympics during a pandemic is certainly understandable, and she certainly isn’t the only one, including most recently Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Besides, many share their ambivalence and have been critical of the IOC for going ahead with the Games in Japan anyway. Still, time will tell if it’s a missed opportunity for the world No. 5 player who might have added Olympic hardware to her already breakthrough titles, including a First Premiere Mandatory and the 2019 U.S.
Open. 2021 has been a challenging year for 21-year-old Andreescu. She has exited early in all three slams, including a first round defeat in straight sets to Alizé Cornet. Cornet would have been a tough opponent for anyone, really, and to be fair, grass isn’t Andreescu’s strong suit.
The Australian Open second round loss to Hsieh Su-wei came on the heels of a difficult recovery in the midst of a pandemic. However, the Canadian-Romanian recovered some of her momentum during the hard court tournaments after the initial grand slam, making it to this year’s Miami Open final, but retiring in the second set against Ash Barty.
Andreescu’s injuries have proceeded to wreak havoc to an attempted comeback since the tennis world was hit by the pandemic. Coping with injuries has been the story of her career. The tennis superstar’s aggressive power game has always taken a toll on her body, but have seemed to combine with other issues, exacerbating the difficulty to bounce back in full swing.
The former world No. 4 tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the clay season. She barely recovered to get through one warm-up clay event, before going out in the first round at Roland Garros in a tough three-setter loss to Tamara Zidanšek.
The news of parting ways with her long-time coach Sylvain Bruneau seems to have compounded her struggles in a roller coaster year.
With Wimbledon and grass season behind her, and now with the stress of dealing with a controversial Olympics during a pandemic lifted, Bianca Andreescu seems poised for the fall season of the hard court tournaments.
Another big early casualty at the French Open. Sixth seed Bianca Andreescu loses 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-2) 9-7 after a three hours and 20 minutes tussle with Tamara Zidansek.
Served for it at 5-4 in the third... — George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) May 31, 2021
Placing a focus on these events in the coming months is a smart strategy that will emphasize the strengths of her game and perhaps breathe new life into a lackluster year for the 21-year-old. Look for positive results from the tennis prodigy post-Olympics.
Andreescu will surely fight for a second U.S. Open title, where she has the greatest chances this year. She’s sure to come alive during the post-Olympics hard court season.