Defending Champion Andreescu Latest High Profile Withdrawal From Indian Wells

epa07826814 Bianca Andreescu of Canada reacts defeating Serena Williams of the US during the women's final match on the thirteenth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 07 September 2019. The US Open runs from 26 August through 08 September. EPA/JASON SZENES

Defending champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from next week’s BNP Paribas Open due to injury.

The reigning US Open champion is yet to recover from the left knee injury that forced her to retire from the WTA Finals in her debut last October.

The injury has also delayed the start to her 2020 campaign.

After withdrawing from four events to start the year, including the Australian Open, the Canadian announced on Saturday that a return to the site of her first career WTA title is not in the cards this season.

“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%,” Andreescu said in a statement.

“I would like to thank you all for your continued support and sticking with me on this journey. Your kind words have been so uplifting.

“While I am disappointed that I am not competing next week in a tournament where I have such great memories, I am focused on my recovery and rehab and working hard to get back on the court as soon as possible.”

Andreescu’s withdrawal follows that of reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, last year’s finalist, who both announced their withdrawals on Friday.

A wildcard into last year’s Indian Wells event, the Canadian stormed through the Premier Mandatory tournament to announced herself as a force on tour, beating five seeded players along the way, including Garbiñe Muguruza, Elina Svitolina and Kerber in a thrilling three-set final.

She became the first wildcard to win the title in the tournament’s history and the youngest Indian Wells champion since Serena Williams in 1999.