'I Didn't Like How I Felt': How A Tennis Sabbatical Rescued Andreescu's Career

'I Didn't Like How I Felt': How A Tennis Sabbatical Rescued Andreescu's Career

by Nurein Ahmed

Bianca Andreescu recently revealed how tapping into new hobbies helped fuel her tennis return and improve her mental health while on a tennis hiatus a few seasons ago.

Andreescu enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019, rising from outside the world's Top 100 to finish the year with a Top 5 ranking. She started that season by reaching her maiden WTA final in Auckland as a qualifier, losing to Julia Goerges.

But it only took her a couple more months to top the winner's podium. At Indian Wells, 19-year-old Andreescu defeated three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber to win the tournament.

Two more titles filled her trophy collection, one on home turf in Toronto and the other at the US Open, where she became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam in singles.

It would have been scarcely believable if you had predicted at the time that Andreescu would not reach another major final, let alone win one more. But that's precisely how Andreescu's career unfolded in five years.

Looking back, the now 23-year-old termed it as "bad luck" as persistent physical injuries and mental health problems ravaged her meteoric rise. She admitted that she did not feel like 23 in a recent interview on Match Point Canada.

A few years ago, Andreescu took a much-needed hiatus from the sport in order to sort her headspace, which helped in her quest for self-discovery and exploring a lot of interesting things that consequently aided her in overcoming her mental health struggles.

"I feel like I've discovered a lot of things about myself. Maybe if I hadn't had this time off the slopes, I wouldn't know about my passion for spirituality or martial arts, or even painting. All of that comes from not having an identity."

Andreescu, as quoted on Punto de Break

"I complete myself through sports. I want to have other hobbies, otherwise I go crazy. That's what happened to me when I had a mental break in 2021, and I didn't like how I felt. Having these tools not only help me in my life, but also on the court, I will enjoy it more."

"That's how I was last year, for example, and I feel that it will improve. Mental health has a very important place in my life, it is everything. If you are not well in that aspect, neither will you be physically or emotionally."

The former World No. 4 is aiming to return to action for the first time in 10 months at the Morocco Open in Rabat later this month. She had been dealing with a chronic back injury since losing to Camila Giorgi at the 2023 Canadian Open.


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