This week hasn’t gone too well for one of the most promising rising stars of women’s tennis at the WTA Finals.
19-year-old sensation Bianca Andreescu is yet to win a match at the season-ending tournament. After suffering a marathon loss to Simona Halep in her opening match, the reigning US Open champion was then forced to retire on Wednesday during her clash with Karolina Pliskova. The culprit was a knee problem in what is the latest of a string of issues to hit her. Speaking about her knee afterwards, Andreescu’s honestly raised eyebrows from some listening.
“Maybe I could have pushed it more. I don’t know. My team said no. It was good that I stopped.” She said. “Honestly, I could have kept going. If I did, then I would just be, like, whining on the court. I don’t want that. I’ve done that enough (in the past).”
As well as a sensational 2019 season where she claimed her maiden grand slam title and scored eight wins over top 10 players, Andreescu has also been criticised by some. Angelique Kerber once described her as ‘the biggest drama queen ever.’ The comment was in reference to a medical time out she took during their match.
It appears that the world No.4 is earning a reputation on the tour for her antics. Highlighted by Karolina Pliskova at the WTA Finals earlier this week. Pliskova lead the Canadian 6-3 before she was forced to retire from their match.
“I don’t know how bad it is. I was just ready that she was going to call physio because so far I think she has been calling physio in every match. It was not really a surprise for me.” Pliskova said.
“I didn’t know it was really that bad. Of course, I feel sorry for her. I don’t know if she’s going to be ready or if she withdraw completely, I’m not sure.”
There is no reason to suggest that Andreescu’s latest retirement was deliberate or an overreaction. She heard a ‘crack’ in her knee during play and will be subsequently undergoing a scan on Thursday afternoon. Earlier this year a shoulder injury meant that she could only play one tournament (the French Open) within a four-month period. Making her run to the US Open title in September even more incredible.
However, her on court theatrics has been called out by some. The latest being former world No.5 and grand slam semi-finalist Jo Durie. Who is currently covering the WTA Finals for BT Sport.
“I think she likes to play act a bit. It’s a performance for Andrescu isn’t it? On the court and off.” Durie told BT Sport.
“There has always been certain players on the tour, and also in my time (as a player), who would always act up and others that didn’t.”
Veteran coach Nigel sears elaborate further by sharing with BT Sport a conversation he had with Andreescu’s agent. Sears has a wealth of experience when it comes to working on the WTA Tour. He has previous coached Ana Ivanovic and is currently mentoring Anette Kontaveit.
“She has been injury prone. So she has had a lot to deal with.” Sears points out.
“I saw her agent this morning and he happens to be the same agent as Anette Konteveit has. I said ‘what are you going to do about all the drama’ and he looked at me and he just smiled. That all there is to it.’
“The locker room certainly knows all about it.” He added.
Andreescu is without a doubt one of the most formidable players on the WTA Tour. Rocketing up the rankings by more than 100 places since January. How great she can become remains to be seen, but will her ‘drama queen’ status hinder her abilities in the future?
Only time will tell.
Marcos Baghdatis Lands First Coaching Role With Top 10 Player
The recently retired tennis player has become the new mentor to one of the stars of women’s tennis.
Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis is set to return to the tour five months after stepping away from the sport as a coach to the world No.6 player on the WTA Tour.
The Cypriot has been appointed to the team of Elina Svitolina with immediate effect. In his new role Baghdatis will be working alongside Svitolina’s current coach Andrew Bettles in what will be his first ever role as a mentor on the professional tour.
“I am so glad to announce the next chapter of my life and look forward to coaching a great athlete and super tennis player, No.6 ranked WTA player Elina Svitolina, working alongside Andre Bettles! I want to thank Elina for putting her trust in me. Let’s do this! Bring it on 2020,” he said on Twitter.
During his career, Baghdatis won four ATP titles and peaked at a high of eighth in the world rankings. Finishing each year inside the world’s top 100 between 2005-2016. He officially retired from tennis during Wimbledon at the age of 34.
Svitolina will be hoping that her new appointment sends her in the right direction following what has been a mixed year. The Ukranian won 39 out of 61 matches played in 2019 and reached the semi-finals of two grand slam tournaments (Wimbledon and the US Open). However, she has failed to win any WTA titles. Making it the first season she has done so since 2012.
“I’m very excited to announce this news and I’m confident his strong experience will add value to my game.” Svitolina wrote on Instagram.
“With such a great coaching team, I have set high objectives for 2020.”
Svitolina will kick-off her 2020 campaign in Australia at the Brisbane International. As well as bidding to win her first grand slam title, the 25-year-old will be hoping to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Caroline Wozniacki To Face Serena Williams In Farewell Match
Details have been released about a special event that will take place in honour of the former world No.1.
After announcing her retirement from tennis at the start of next year, Caroline Wozniacki has confirmed that she will play one final match in her home country before hanging up her racket for good.
Danish media have reported that the 2018 Australian Open champion will play at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen next May. A multi-purpose arena that can hold a capacity of up to 12,500 people for sporting events. Described by the promoters as Wozniacki’s ‘final match’ on Danish soil, she will play against rival and friend Serena Williams.
“The time has come when I stop my career and I am very much looking forward to playing my very last home game in front of such a large audience. It will be something very special and a day I really look forward to.” Wozniacki told tv2.dk.
“The end point of my career cannot be better than at home and against tennis’ greatest female player ever. It’s going to be a magnificent night I’ll never forget, I’m sure.” She added.
Wozniacki has played Williams 11 times on the WTA Tour, but has only won one of their meetings. Which was at the 2012 Miami Open. It is not the first time the two have played an exhibition match against each other. In 2016 Williams won their encounter in Madison Square Garden, New York. Meanwhile, last year Wozniacki also played Williams’ sister Venus in Denmark to mark her triumph at the Australian Open.
The 29-year-old will be hoping that the upcoming showdown will be the perfect send off as she exits the sport. During her career, Wozniacki has won 30 WTA titles and spent 71 weeks as world No.1. She has also won 432 hard court matches, which is more than any other non-American player on the women’s tour.
“I want to thank everyone for the incredible support they have shown me throughout my career and I hope that as many people as possible want to come and give me perfect send off. I would be very grateful for that.” She said.
The farewell match will take place on May 18th, which is exactly a week before the start of the French Open for Williams.
Bianca Andreescu Rewrites History As She Is Named Canadian Athlete of The Year
The world No.5 has achieved another milestone in her blossoming career.
Tennis sensation Bianca Andreescu has capped off her breakthrough season by winning the most prestigious sporting prize of her country.
The 19-year-old has become the first tennis player is history to win the Lou Marsh Trophy. An honour that has been awarded to Canada’s top athlete each year since 1936. Andreescu was unanimously selected to receive the trophy by a panel of 24 top sports media members. Fending off competition from Brooke Henderson (golf), Jordan Binnington (ice hockey), Andre De Grasse (athletics) and Mike Soroka (baseball).
“Wow, I’m so thankful for this award. I was not expecting it and to be the first tennis player to win is even more surreal,” Andreescu said.
“None of my success this year would have been possible without the support from all of Canada. Canadian sports crushed it this year so there are definitely many other athletes who deserve a piece of this award as well — we all motivate each other to be better.’
“I can’t wait for what 2020 will bring and am always proud to represent Canada at the highest level.”
Andresscu’s latest milestone is one that surprised few. In September moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury, who won the trophy in 2018, said to Andreescu on Twitter ‘anytime you want to come take the #LouMarsh I have it in Montreal… it’s all yours now.’
This season Andreescu has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of tennis. Highlighted by a win-loss record of 48-7. Starting 2019 outside the top 100 with less than $200,000 in career earnings, she has rocketed up the rankings. She won her maiden WTA title in Indian Wells, followed by the Rogers Cup a few months later. However, her biggest achievement took place at the US Open when she defeated Serena Williams to win the US Open. Becoming the first Canadian in history to win a grand slam singles title.
As a result of her breakout, Andreescu has made $6,504,150 in prize money this season. The 10th highest by a player (man or woman) in 2019. An impressive achievement for the Canadian, who at one stage could only play one match during a four-month period due to injury.
Andreescu will start her 2020 campaign in New Zealand at the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Andreescu’s season review
– Reaches the final of the ASB Classic as a qualifier. Defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams en route.
– At the Australian Open Andreescu eases through qualifying without dropping a set. After winning her first main draw match, she lost in round 2 to Anastasija Sevastova.
– Caps off the month by winning a WTA 125 title in Newport Beach, California.
– Wins both her matches in Canada’s Fed Cup clash with the Netherlands
– Towards the end of the month she reached the semi-finals of the Acapulco Open before losing to Sofia Kenin.
– Stuns the tour by winning the BNP Paribas Open as a wild card to claim her first WTA title.
– Follows up Indian Wells by reaching the fourth round in Miami.
April – played no events due to injury
– Could only play one match at the French Open, which she won, before withdrawing from the tournament injured.
June & July – missed due to injury
– On a comeback from injury she became the first Canadian player in 50 years to win the Rogers Cup. The biggest tennis tournament in her country.
– Claims her first grand slam title at the US Open by defeating Serena Williams in straight sets.
– Reaches the quarter-finals of the China Open before losing in a three-set thriller to Naomi Osaka.
– Made her debut at the WTA Finals. Lost her opening match to Simona Halep and then retired during her her second against Karolina Pliskova due to injury.
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