2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will take time off from tennis for mental health.
The Canadian said she will sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open, to “re-set, recover, and grow” after a challenging two years.
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The 21-year-old wrote in a post on social media that she was affected mentally and physically by ‘multiple weeks in isolation quarantining.’
Her grandmother’s stay for several weeks in a hospital’s intensive care unit due to the virus had also hit her hard.
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“A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders,” Andreescu tweeted.
“I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around and it took its toll on me.”
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Andreescu is one of the high-profile players missing from the Australian Open entry list released this week.
Serena Williams is also not on the list. The American, who is still chasing a record-equaling 24th major, has not played since she picked up an ankle injury at 2021 Wimbledon.
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Andreescu joins other professional athletes who have cited the need for time away from competition to gather themselves mentally including, for example, Naomi Osaka, a four-time major title winner and former No. 1-ranked player in tennis.
Osaka took a break after pulling out of the French Open in May and again after her loss at the U.S. Open in September, sitting out the remainder of the season.
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“I want to give myself extra time to re-set, recover, and grow from this (as cliche as that sounds) and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever,” Andreescu said.
“I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train, and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season.”