WATCH: Tennis Channel Live discusses the return of Bianca Andreescu to the WTA Tour

For a moment, it seemed like fans inside the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart—and viewers back home—were holding their breath.

Bianca Andreescu, who was competing in her first match in nearly seven months, was finally back on a center court but trailing the home favorite Jule Niemeier 3-5. The Canadian was serving to cut down arrears, but under the weight of the wild card’s powerful return Andreescu lunged for a forehand and slipped on a line, tumbling to the ground.

While Andreescu was only down for a few seconds, it was enough time to remember why the 2019 US Open champion was in this position: unseeded at a WTA 500-level event, ranked outside the Top 100 and struggling to regain her best level.

The Canadian’s laundry list of injuries since climbing to world No. 4 during her electric debut season reads more like an anatomy lesson: right shoulder, lower back, right knee, abdomen, big toe and more. And the mental toll has been just as costly, with Andreescu taking time away from the sport at the start of the year to focus on her mental health at a well-being program in Costa Rica.

“I'm being really honest here, but I actually wanted to quit the sport," Andreescu revealed to WTA Insider ahead of her Stuttgart debut. "It was really bad. I am privileged in a way for having this opportunity and doing all of this. Now I'm very grateful, more than ever. So I don't want people to think, 'Oh you're a little baby, just suck it up.'

“But it was an accumulation of two and a half years. A lot had happened and I just didn't want to deal with anything anymore."

The break—a purposeful stoppage, rather than one induced by injury—gave Andreescu a chance to rediscover her drive and passion for tennis.


The former world No. 4 will face Aryna Sabalenka in her second match of the season in Stuttgart.

The former world No. 4 will face Aryna Sabalenka in her second match of the season in Stuttgart.

As she’s done many times since 2019, the Canadian was down but got back up—and she did the same once again in Stuttgart, her first tournament of the season. Andreescu brushed off the clay and reeled off the next three games in a row to take control of the set, and eventually the match, against the No. 108-ranked Niemeier, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

After a scratchy start that saw Andreescu drop serve early and face a set point in the opening set, flashes of the Canadian’s flowing all-court game and signature variety were on display. She racked up 22 winners, including six aces, to 17 unforced errors and saved five of the six break points she faced.

With her first clay-court win in nearly a year secured after a battling hour and 45 minutes, things won’t get any easier for the world No. 121. Andreescu will take on No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the second round, an early test of her level against the struggling Belarusian who is searching for her own way out of a slump.

But regardless of that result, just seeing Andreescu back on a center court at a WTA event feels like a win after all she's been through—and the 21-year-old agrees.

“Before, I just really enjoyed playing. If I won or if I lost, I didn’t care, I was super happy to be on court. That’s kind of the mentality that I want to keep going this year,” she said during her on-court interview.

“Before, I also felt like I was very results oriented. It’s either you win or you lose in this sport, but I feel like if I keep having the right mindset—just going out there and enjoying myself, preparing the best way that I can and just giving my all—I think the results will come. So I’m just going to focus on that.”