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'Difficult decision': Tennis champion's shock announcement

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams, pictured here after the 2019 US Open final.
Bianca Andreescu beat Serena Williams in the 2019 US Open final. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Bianca Andreescu, who won the US Open in 2019, has pulled the plug on her 2020 season after withdrawing from the French Open.

The Canadian announced on Tuesday that she will sit out the remainder of the season to focus on her “health and training” after a year beset by injury.

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Andreescu, who beat Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows 12 months ago to become Canada’s first grand slam singles champion, has not played a match since hurting her knee last October at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

Her US Open triumph was the high point of what has been a miserable 12 months.

Bianca Andreescu, pictured here in action at the WTA Finals in 2019.
Bianca Andreescu in action at the WTA Finals in 2019. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The World No.7 has now withdrawn from the French Open, rescheduled to start on Sunday from May due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She had already been forced to skip the defence of her US Open crown after being unable to properly prepare, in part because of the global health crisis.

“I have come to the difficult decision to skip the clay court swing this year and will be taking the remainder of the season off to focus on my health and training,” Andreescu wrote on Twitter.

“As hard as it was to come to this conclusion, I have so much to look forward to in 2021, including the Olympics; I want to use this time to focus on my game so I can come back stronger and better than ever.”

The 20-year-old joins defending Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty and newly-crowned US Open winner Naomi Osaka on the absentee list for the September 27-October 11 grand slam in Paris.

Fans were left devastated by Andreescu’s announcement.

Barty and Osaka also out of French Open

Osaka pulled out of the French Open with a sore hamstring last week, in a fresh blow to the coronavirus-hit grand slam which is already missing World No.1 Barty.

Japan's Osaka made the announcement just days after lifting her third major title behind closed doors at the US Open in New York, the first grand slam tournament possible since the pandemic.

“Unfortunately I won't be able to play the French Open this year,” Osaka said in posts on Instagram and Twitter.

“My hamstring is still sore so I won't have enough time to prepare for the clay - these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this year.”

The withdrawal of third-ranked Osaka means Roland Garros will be missing two of the world's top three, after reigning champion Barty said earlier this month that she wouldn't return to defend her title.

The Australian said she feared participation still carried health risks, and she had not been able to train with her coach because of the state border closures in her home country.

Osaka's announcement also came just hours after French Open organisers were forced to slash daily attendance from 11,500 to 5,000 as coronavirus cases surge in France.

with AFP