Last year’s US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will not be defending her title in Flushing Meadows, the World No.6 confirmed on Thursday.

“After many discussions with those closest to me, I have made the difficult decision not to return to New York this year,” Andreescu said in a statement posted to social media. “I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level.” 

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Andreescu’s most recent competitive match took place last October, with the Canadian making her debut at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen following a season of whirlwind success. After starting the year ranked outside the Top 150, Andreescu quickly became one to watch with her electrifying run to the BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells. She backed it up by becoming the first Canadian to lift the trophy at home at the Rogers Cup, before sealing her rise to the top with her maiden Grand Slam victory at the US Open. But the Canadian also struggled physically throughout her breakout season, battling a right shoulder and left knee injury.

“The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there," Andreescu continued. "However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid [sic] pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level. 

“I want to express my appreciation to the USTA and the WTA for all of their efforts in making the event happen. I look forward to joining my competitors back on court soon.”

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Andreescu joins fellow former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova on the list of players who have announced their withdrawal from the US Open, along with Barbora Strycova and Fiona Ferro.

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The 2020 US Open will be played August 31-September 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.