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Bianca Andreescu announces she won't play Australian Open, will focus on mental health

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  • Bianca Andreescu
    Bianca Andreescu
    Canadian tennis player

Canadian tennis player and Grand Slam champion Bianca Andreescu announced on Monday that she's decided not to play in the Australian Open in January, the opening event of the 2022 tennis season. 

Andreescu, 21, stayed mostly injury free in 2021, but she was forced to withdraw from the Madrid Open in April after testing positive for COVID-19. That bout with COVID, and the time she had to spend in isolated quarantine to attend other tournaments, caused ripple effects across her season, and it's at the heart of why she's chosen to start the 2022 season a few months late.

"Hi everyone. As you all know, the past two years have been very challenging for me for a variety of reasons. Especially this year in particular, I spent multiple weeks in isolation quarantining which affected me greatly — both mentally and physically. In addition, my grandmother spent several weeks in the ICU due to a covid infection, something that really hit me hard. 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 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. 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. 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."

Andreescu's 2020 season was also heavily affected by the pandemic. Just a few months after winning the 2019 US Open, a knee injury caused her to sit out the Australian Open. She returned to action on the women's tour, but then the pandemic shut down tennis (and every other sport) for months. She wasn't able to compete again until the 2021 Australian Open, 15 months after her last pro match. 

After such a turbulent few years, Andreescu is choosing to spend an extra few months focusing on herself so she can be both mentally and physically ready for the 2022 season. Both Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles did something similar earlier in 2021, withdrawing from their sporting events (the French Open for Osaka, the Olympics for Biles) due to mental health struggles.