SHENZHEN, China - No.4 seed Bianca Andreescu will decide on Thursday whether or not to continue her participation at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen after suffering a left knee injury that had her retiring after the opening set against Karolina Pliskova, 6-3 (ret).
Leading No.2 seed Pliskova by an early break, 2-0, Andreescu ran for a forehand return in the third game of the match and immediately stopped the point, sinking to the ground with a grimace before taking a medical time out. The Canadian continued to play, but ultimately retired after losing the opening set.
“I stepped weirdly on a return,” Andreescu explained in her post-match press conference. “I heard my knee crack. It kind of went inwards. Putting pressure afterwards on it really bothered me. I could barely bend my knee. But I fought with the pain as much as I could.
“At some point an athlete has to say 'stop' and just listen to their body. That's what I did.”
“It's disappointing 'cause this is the last tournament of the year, you want to go all out,” she added. “You're playing one of the biggest tournaments of the year, too. It's not easy.”
Despite the acute pain, Andreescu - who fought through back pain in her opening match against Simona Halep - explained that her first impulse was to keep playing.
“Actually I've never had a during-match injury happen before, other than spraining my ankle, but that was back in 2015. Honestly, I really didn't know what to do,” she said. “I've fought through pain before, but this was different. It was like very acute.
“But it's the last tournament of the year. I just told myself, Push it as much as you can. You're going to have a good break after this. But yeah, maybe I could have pushed it more. I don't know.
“My team said no. It was good that I stopped. Honestly, I could have kept going. If I did, then I would just be, like, whining on the court. I don't want that. I've done that enough,” she added with a wry laugh.
It’s a disappointing turn of events for Andreescu, who is competing in her first WTA Finals after a breakthrough season catapulted her from outside the Top 100 in the rankings to the game’s highest echelons.
She was one of the most dominant players after lifting trophies at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup in Toronto - becoming the first Canadian in the Open Era to win at home - before lifting her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.
But her season was abbreviated by injury as well, with a right shoulder injury keeping off of the tennis courts from Miami in March, missing the grass court season and Wimbledon before returning in Toronto.
“Some injuries are just inevitable,” Andreescu said. “It's the athlete's job, team's job, to just try our best to prevent as much as possible.
“It's a long season. It's not easy day in, day out. But I love doing this, so I'm just going to keep fighting.”