It's been a long road to recovery for Bianca Andreescu, and the road just got longer. The Last year's Indian Wells and US Open champion, who hasn't competed since the season-ending WTA Finals, announced that she won't make her 2020 season debut at next week's BNP Paribas Open.
It was just last year in the desert that Andreescu ignited crowds as she clawed her way through the Indian Wells draw, taking out Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina and, in the final, Angelique Kerber. But shortly after in Miami, Andreescu would be forced to retire in her fourth-round match due to a shoulder injury that would keep her off the courts for months.
The 19-year-old would return in August to make another major splash, winning Toronto, and then capturing her first Grand Slam title at the US Open. It seems as if Andreeescu's most difficult opponent is the one looking back at her in the mirror. From January 2019 to August 2019, the Canadian dismissed all seven Top 10 opponents she faced.
“As many of you know, I’ve been working through an injury I suffered last year during the WTA Finals. It’s been a long road to recovery and while I was looking forward to getting back on court and defending my title at Indian Wells, unfortunately I’m still not 100%."#BNPPO20 pic.twitter.com/XFyKwG5z2o— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 7, 2020
Andreescu isn't the only top competitor to withdraw from Indian Wells. Kerber, as well as 2015 champion Simona Halep, have also sustained injuries that have forced them to exit the event.
"I'm incredibly disappointed to have to withdraw from the 2020 BNP Paribas Open," said Halep in her official Indian Wells statement.
It's unfortunate, since the world No. 2 kicked off her season by reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open. Halep picked up her first title of 2020 in Dubai, but she also managed to pick up a foot injury as well.
Kerber, who found success at Indian Wells last year, is also enduring a left-leg injury and has not competed since the Australian Open.
"I was hoping to be ready in time for the upcoming tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, but my medical team advised me to give it a little bit more rest. Thanks for your support! I can’t wait to be back on court soon," said the three-time major winner on Instagram.
Although many top names have dropped, numerous rising stars will still line the field. Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin, and newly granted wild card Leylah Fernandez will be looking to stir up the pot. Fernandez is coming off a spectacular two weeks; reaching her first WTA final in Acapulco and the Monterrey quarterfinals.
Also, for the first time since 2011, Kim Clijsters will battle on the courts of Indian Wells.
It will undoubtedly be another tournament full of compelling headlines. Indian Wells has a way of always surprising fans around the world, and this edition will be no different.