*

upload_article_image

2019 US Open champ Andreescu takes time off for mental break

Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, will take a mental break from tennis and sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open, saying Monday she wants to “re-set, recover, and grow” after a “challenging” two years that included getting COVID-19.

The 21-year-old from Canada wrote in a posting on Twitter that she was affected mentally and physically by “multiple weeks in isolation quarantining” and that her grandmother's stay for several weeks in a hospital's intensive care unit because of the coronavirus “really hit me hard.”

“A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders,” Andreescu said. “I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around and it took its toll on me.”

FILE - Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, holds up the championship trophy after defeating Serena Williams, of the United States, in the women's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in New York. Andreescu is going to take a mental break from tennis and sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open, saying Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, she wants to “re-set, recover, and grow” after a “challenging” two years that included getting COVID-19.(AP PhotoCharles Krupa, File)

Andreescu joins other professional athletes who have cited the need for time away from competition to gather themselves mentally — including, for example, Naomi Osaka, a four-time major title winner and former No. 1-ranked player in tennis. Osaka took a break after pulling out of the French Open in May and again after her loss at the U.S. Open in September, sitting out the remainder of the season.

Andreescu was 19 when she capped a breakthrough season by upsetting her idol, Serena Williams, in the U.S. Open final two years ago. Soon after, Andreescu rose to a career-best No. 4 in the WTA rankings.

More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports