Defending U.S. Open champion Andreescu withdraws

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Defending women’s champion Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open on Thursday, saying she has been unable to properly prepare for the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The sixth-ranked Andreescu is the fourth woman ranked in the top seven to pull out of the Grand Slam tournament. World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia, No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and No. 7 Kiki Bertens of Netherlands previously pulled out.

Defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal also is skipping the tournament.

Andreescu, then 19, defeated Serena Williams in last year’s final to notch the biggest victory of her career in her first U.S. Open appearance.

“After many discussions with those closest to me, I have made the difficult decision not to return to New York this year,” the Canadian wrote on her Instagram account. “I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level.

“The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

The breakthrough win over Williams made Andreescu the first teenager to win a Grand Slam title since 19-year-old Maria Sharapova won the 2006 U.S. Open. She also became the first Canadian to win a major crown.

Andreescu turned 20 on June 16. She hasn’t played in an event since last October due to a left knee injury and the eventual halting of WTA play due to the pandemic.

Olga Govortsova of Belarus moved into the main drew in place of Andreescu.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 champion, is among the other women to pull out.

–Field Level Media