Andreescu’s comeback continues at the site of his 2019 Canadian Open title

TORONTO – Bianca Andreescu says she returns to Sobeys Stadium in Toronto with confidence as she prepares to continue her comeback at the upcoming National Bank Open.

TORONTO – Bianca Andreescu says she returns to Sobeys Stadium in Toronto with confidence as she prepares to continue her comeback at the upcoming National Bank Open.

“I definitely feel more confident than, for example, if I came back last year, in Toronto in particular. Because it’s different to play in Montreal and in Toronto,” Andreescu said Thursday during a conference of press from Tennis Canada to announce the list of players for the WTA. 1000 tournament. “Toronto, I feel like those are just the memories I have here.”

It’s been a long road for the Mississauga, Ont., native since she was the last of the dominant players on the tennis scene, but Andreescu believes she’ll be able to perform at her best when the tournament will take place from August 5 to 14. .

“I literally grew up on these grounds, so maybe I put more pressure on myself because I really want to do well here in Toronto,” she said. “But I feel good physically, mentally, and my whole approach to everything is just better. I feel like I can do very well in this tournament.”

The 22-year-old won the event in 2019, in a standout year when she reached No. 4 in the world rankings, having also won the US Open, among other tournaments.

A few months later, she took a 15-month layoff due to a left knee injury. After a bout with COVID-19 in 2021, Andreescu opted to take a “mental break” from tennis late last year.

“Last year was super, super tough for me, but I learned a lot about myself,” Andreescu said. “I feel better about myself and it certainly wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been through what I’ve been through for the past two years.

“Even with injuries it was very difficult to be away from the sport, but it was definitely worth it because of how I feel now.”

Ahead of a recent Wimbledon second-round exit, she advanced to the Bad Homburg Open final before falling to France’s Caroline Garcia. It was the farthest she had gone in a tournament since the 2021 Miami Open, where she fell to then-world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty.

Currently 51st in the world and 44th seed in the tournament, Andreescu was in a much lighter mood as she looks forward to competing in front of family and friends after last year’s tournament in Montreal.

“I am very, very excited. The wait has been way too long and I’m sort of coming in as the defending champion, which is a bit weird because it’s been three years,” Andreescu said. “I’m really looking forward to it and I can’t wait for my family and friends to come see me play.”

Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., is seeded 15th at the event.

Competition will be tough for Andreescu and Fernandez, runners-up at last year’s US Open, as 41 of the top 43 players on the WTA Tour will take part in the event.

The group is highlighted by world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who recently ended a 37-match winning streak, Naomi Osaka, and 2021 US Open and Toronto-born champion Emma Raducanu.

Serena Williams, whom Andreescu beat to win the US Open three years ago, will also compete.

The tournament will be held at full capacity for the first time since 2019 after being canceled in 2020 and held with restrictions in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The men’s tournament will take place in Montreal, where Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime will be targeting a potential home win.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia is the top seed in the men’s draw, followed by Germany’s Alexander Zverev at No. 2 and Spain’s Rafael Nadal at No. 3.

Russian and Belarusian players, banned from playing Wimbledon in response to the invasion of Ukraine, will be allowed to compete in the National Bank Open, Tennis Canada announced in a statement in April.

Nadal, who has 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles to his name, is a five-time winner of the Canadian event.

During the press conference, Tennis Canada also announced the launch of its new initiative, Mental Timeout, in support of the mental health and well-being of tennis players at all levels.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2022.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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