As soon as Bianca Andreescu heard that Serena Williams was retiring from their Rogers Cup final, she went to her opponent’s bench, took a knee, and started consoling the veteran tennis player.
Lost in that moment of empathy was the fact that Andreescu had just become the first Canadian to win the tournament in 50 years.
“I started tearing up because she was tearing up. It’s because I know how she feels,” said Andreescu on Sunday. “Injuries really, really suck.”
Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., was up 3-1 in the first set at Aviva Centre when Williams called for a medical timeout. Less than a minute later, the chair umpire announced that Williams was retiring from the match, handing Andreescu her second WTA Premier title of the season.
“It’s not the way I wanted to win, but a win is a win so I’m really happy,” said Andreescu, who is the first Canadian to win the title since Faye Urban of Windsor, Ont., beat Vancouver’s Vicki Berner in 1969. The tournament was still played on clay courts and called the Canadian Open when Urban won.
Williams was impressed with the 19-year-old Andreescu’s class in that shared moment on the bench, calling her a “great sportswoman” and an “old soul.”
“She’s wiser than her, what is she? Nineteen years old?” said the 37-year-old Williams, who added that the brief encounter with Andreescu was the highlight of the tournament for her. “She definitely doesn’t seem like a 19-year old in her words, on the court and her game, her attitude, her actions.”
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 11, 2019
Andreescu also won at Indian Wells in March, the beginning of a 17-match win streak, not counting when she has had to retire from matches due to injury herself. She holds victories over seven of the top 10 players in the world this season, including Williams.
“I would say that the win in Indian Wells was — I mean, it was a hard-fought battle,” said Andreescu, referring to her three-set win over No. 8 Angelique Kerber. “So I felt like it was a sweeter victory at the time.
“But (the Rogers Cup) is at home. I’ve dedicated so much hard work and sweat on that tennis court and in this gym, so this tournament is definitely ten times more special.”