Andreescu’s “aha moment” made winning the Australian Open possible

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Bianca Andreescu traced the path that brought her back to the tennis tour after a mental health break — and Monday put her back in the winning books thanks to a win over a seeded opponent at the Australian Open. What she calls an “aha moment” on a beach in Costa Rica during a spiritual retreat nearly a year ago.

Here, then, is how the 22-year-old Canadian described his epiphany in an interview with The Associated Press at Melbourne Park: “I’m meant to play this sport and use it as a platform to be an inspiration to others.”

Andreescu, who beat Serena Williams in the 2019 US Open final as a teenager, has gone through a series of health issues, including contracting COVID-19, which blighted her career in 2020 and slowed her life in 2021 as well. She also broke up with her longtime coach. Overall, there was a lot going on — after she beat No. 25 seed Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 6-4 on Court 3 on Monday, Andreescu used the word “frantic” to describe that period — and she went six months without playing a match from October 2021. to April 2022, including not participating in last year’s Australian Open.

“That was when I started asking myself the question: Is this all worth it? Is this life worth it? Because I was so stressed out by so many things: the people in my life; the way I was looking at myself in the mirror,” Andreescu said. Just holding a tennis racket, I didn’t feel happy anymore. or content. Because usually, going to the stadium is my escape – and I’ve never had that feeling.”

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