TORONTO — Bianca Andreescu is eyeing a return to the WTA Tour in May after a shoulder injury forced the rising Canadian tennis star to bow out of her fourth-round match at the Miami Open last month.
Andreescu hoped that the ailment would heal before the Fed Cup, when Canada competes against reigning champion Czech Republic in a World Group playoff on April 20 and 21.
"I’m definitely disappointed," Andreescu said ahead of attending a documentary screening about Tennis Canada’s Fed and Davis Cup performances. "It’s always been a dream of mine to play Fed Cup and sadly I can’t play this tie but I’m sure the girls are going to do really well."
It’s been a whirlwind 2019 for the 18-year-old tennis champion. She grabbed the attention of the tennis world after she won the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif., and defeated former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber on March 17.
The Mississauga, Ont., native also picked up her first victory at a Grand Slam main draw by winning her first-round match at the Australian Open against American Whitney Osuigwe on Jan. 14.
Andreescu, ranked 23rd in the world after starting 2019 at No. 152, retired from a fourth-round match at the Miami Open on March 25 with an ailing shoulder. She has not played since then and has yet to pick up a racket. Instead, she’s been basking in her return home.
Last week she threw out the first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game. She was also a guest of honour at the Toronto Raptors game and Toronto FC match.
"I’m definitely getting a lot more attention than before which I think is a good thing," Andreescu said. "It was a little overwhelming at first but I’m kind of getting used to it now."
She packed all of those events within a week of her return home so that she could focus on being mentally and physically prepared for her return to the court.
"Right now it’s just a good time for me to be home," Andreescu said. "I haven’t been home in a while, and I’ve been playing a lot of tennis. So maybe this is a good thing. I’m just going to stay positive throughout the whole process."
The time off has allowed the Andreescu to go back to school at Bill Crothers Secondary School in Markham, Ont., where she has three electives to complete before receiving her Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
"I really want to graduate high school because I don’t know what’s going to happen after my tennis career and happen during my tennis career," said Andreescu. "Maybe I want to take some courses online just to keep my mind going."
Andreescu has yet to decide if she will do any training in Toronto or head to Montreal before she makes her way to Europe to train on clay in preparation of the French Open which starts at the end of May.
She is targeting a return to court on clay surfaces in Madrid on May 4 or Rome on May 13th.
The layoff hasn’t hurt Andreescu’s confidence. She prefers the clay surface over any other.
"It’s my favourite surface, really. I think my game compliments that surface," Andreescu said. "I love sliding on the clay. I love competing in longer games, longer rallies. I definitely have to work on my fitness more because the points are going to be longer."