It’s a disappointment, but not a huge shock, that US Open champion Bianca Andreescu’s 2020 season is not going to start on time.
There hasn’t been much of a whiff of any tennis at all during the offseason for the 19-year-old Canadian, who injured her knee in her first match at the WTA Tour Finals in Shenzhen more than two months ago.
First, she pulled out of an exhibition tournament in Hawaii, which is taking place this weekend.
And on Tuesday in Auckland (Monday night back home), Andreescu announced that she is withdrawing from the ASB Classic.
Ranked No. 152, Andreescu got through the qualifying, defeated Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki – and went all the way to the final this past January.
That was the kickstart for her hugely successful 2019 season.
Knee still a problem
Andreescu was due to spend two weeks in California in pre-season training, before heading to Hawaii.
She did get there, but she was behind schedule.
That was the first concrete indication that the knee problem suffered in China wasn’t just a minor tweak.
From two top-10s to one in Auckland
The New Zealand tournament, which is an International level event, had been able to boast not just one top-10 player, but two.
Serena Williams (who will team up with her good friend Caroline Wozniacki in doubles as the Dane wraps up her career on the Aussie swing), was also confirmed.
Also there will be two rising teenaged American players, Amanda Anisimova and Coco Gauff.
Andreescu is defending 198 points in Auckland (as well as 110 points at the Australian Open. In January, she qualified and reached the second round of the main draw there).
Even if – worst-case scenario, she wasn’t able to be ready in time for Melbourne – her ranking won’t take a major hit. At most, she would lose a few spots.
But with so much coming up to defend, The Canadian would find herself up against if she begins the season and is at less than 100 per cent.
The season is endless. And if her health allows, she will find herself playing a ton more tennis in the heart of it, during the clay and grass-court seasons, than she did in 2019.
On the plus side, it appears that Andreescu is at least on court now.
Would she take a wild card into Adelaide (or even Hobart) the week before Melbourne, if she feels she’s fully ready to make a run in Melbourne? Not likely. Always possible. We shall see.