Andreescu, 19, overcomes shoulder injury to win Rogers Cup, US Open
Bianca Andreescu’s victory at the US Open is also a triumph of her hard work and patience to recover from a shoulder injury when she won Indian Wells.
But tennis fans and analysts who are hyping her as the “next big thing” because of her courage, massive forehand and variety of shots need to remember that the WTA has a serious problem with physical and mental health of players. Parents, coaches and federations are understandably enticed to push players hard at young ages because, like world number 39 Jelena Ostapenko, they can earn more than $8 million by age 21.
One injury leads to another. Players are never really 100 percent. The result: #4 Bertens, #5 Kerber, #6 Kvitova, #13 Wozniacki and #23 Bianca Andreescu (and not to mention Maria Sharapova) were all out of Roland Garros before the second round. Andreescu, among others, couldn’t play Wimbledon.
For perspective, imagine if French Open ticket buyers already couldn’t see Thiem, Zverev, Tsitsipas, Cilic and Shapovalov after the first round.
Andreescu has been almost unbeatable in 2019, when she’s healthy. That’s a big if. She probably should have skipped the French Open to heal her shoulder and rebuild her game after 2 months off. She played her worst tennis versus #118 Marie Bouzkova in a match filled with errors. Neither player could hold serve in the first nine games. But who can turn down a first round match worth 87,000 euros to the winner?
Felix Auger-Aliassime, 18, wisely withdrew from Roland Garros after hurting his groin en route to the finals of the Lyon 250.
Felix and Bianca are part of a long list of Canadians with injuries in 2019:
–Milos Raonic (knee, in addition to previous injuries all over his right side)
–Genie Bouchard (abdomen)
–Vasek Pospisil (back surgery)
–Brayden Schnur (nasal surgery)
Though he won only 2 matches on clay this spring, Denis Shapovalov has at least been healthy enough to play.
Andreescu’s incredible 2019 should inspire her and other Canadians to work harder toward more ambitious goals. But they need to temper this valor with wisdom. In the bigger picture, health is more important than winning trophies.
(words and images copyright Christopher Johnson Globalite Media all rights reserved)