- Jul 2011
Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu celebrates with the Rogers Cup trophy as Serena Williams looks on after retiring from the final with injury. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
Much more: Bianca Andreescu hailed as 'old soul' in abrupt victory over Serena WilliamsImagine that moment for Bianca Andreescu.
There was the rising Canadian tennis star, 19-years-old, entering Centre Court at the Aviva Centre preparing to play in the biggest match of her life against one of the best-ever tennis players in Serena Williams.
To add to the storybook stuff, Andreescu grew up not far from the stadium in Mississauga, Ont.
Williams, 37, is a tennis juggernaut who was winning titles before Andreescu was even born. In fact, Williams turned professional five years before the birth of Andreescu.
Williams has 72 career titles and 23 Grand Slam victories.
A capacity crowd, boisterous and energized at the potential of what they were about to witness, settled into their seats as the sun cascaded down on the court.
And then it all ended abruptly – Williams retiring from the match due to injury just four games into the championship.
An umpire immediately went over to Andreescu after Williams had informed officials she wouldn't be able to continue. Andreescu jumped up from her side of the court and raced over to Williams.
She hugged Williams, one of her tennis idols, comforting the tennis great in what was obviously a painful and difficult moment.
"Are you ok? What happened?" Andreescu asked, showing genuine care and concern.
Williams was still sitting in her courtside chair — Andreescu then crouched down, the two sharing a moment.
"I've been through so many injuries already. This sucks," Andreescu said. "I know everything about you."
It was a jarring and shocking end to a match so many were anticipating. For nearly 20 minutes after Williams retired, the majority of spectators in the stadium stood, speechless, trying to wrap their minds around what just happened.
Rogers Cup organizers scrambled to throw together the post-game ceremony.
Williams was the first to address the crowd.
"I'm sorry I couldn't do it today," Williams said, crying. "I tried, but I just, I couldn't do it."
The crowd cheered as Williams continued.
"Bianca, you're a great sportsperson, woman. And thanks to my team. It's been a tough year, but we'll keep going."
Andreescu then took the microphone at centre court to soak up her championship moment – once again showing poise and grace in the big moment, beginning with acknowledging her competitor.
"Serena you made me cry. I know how hard it is to pull out of a tournament due to injury. It's not easy," Andreescu began.
"This isn't the way I expected to win. You are truly a champion. I've watched you play so many times. You are truly a champion."
The two showered each other with respect.
Damn, good for her. Daughter of (Romanian) immigrants, btw
As are plenty of Canada's best tennis players.
Denis Shapovalov's parents are from Russia, for insance
Denis Shapovalov joins Novak Djokovic to play ATP 500 in...
Building bridges instead of walls can do wonders for a nice country