Bianca Andreescu screams in pain after collapsing with fresh ankle injury

Bianca Andreescu leaves court in a wheelchair – Bianca Andreescu screams in pain after collapsing with fresh ankle injury - Alamy/Debby Wong
Bianca Andreescu leaves court in a wheelchair – Bianca Andreescu screams in pain after collapsing with fresh ankle injury - Alamy/Debby Wong

Bianca Andreescu, the former US Open champion, suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Miami on Monday night that left her screaming in agony on the court.

Andreescu was contesting her fourth-round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova when she tripped while sprinting across the baseline.

She fell to the ground, clutching her ankle. When the trainer arrived to assess the injury, and touched the affected joint, Andreescu screamed: “I’ve never felt pain like this before.”

After a supportive embrace from Alexandrova, Andreescu was eventually taken away from the court in a wheelchair. She was in tears, as was her mother Maria. The fans responded with a standing ovation.

Here was another cruel setback for a charismatic player who has barely been able to string matches together since her breakthrough triumph in New York at the age of 19.

The injury comes after Andreescu had beaten three quality opponents – Emma Raducanu, Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin – to reach the fourth round. It was her best series of results in at least nine months, and should carry her back into the top 30 in the world when the next set of rankings are published on Monday.

Unfortunately, Andreescu has been prone to injury throughout her career. This is her third Miami Open, and the third time that she has been forced to retire during a match – after another ankle issue in the final against Ashleigh Barty in 2021 and a shoulder problem against Anett Kontaveit in 2019.

Towards the end of that 2019 season, Andreescu suffered a torn knee meniscus that kept her out of the game for the best part of 16 months. She then took another break in 2021, citing mental health issues, after becoming demoralised by the culture of lockdowns and lateral flow tests during the pandemic.

But recent weeks had found Andreescu sounding much more like her old self. “To think that it was four years ago is just absolutely crazy,” she said on Sunday, when asked about her US Open win. “I feel like I had a lot of time to really settle down and just kind of figure out what’s best for me. I knew it wasn’t gonna come overnight. Now I hope that I can get another grand slam as soon as I can.”

During the same interview, the Canadian said that she would love to talk to Raducanu about their shared experience of landing a major title at such a young age. She was 19 when she won in New York, while Raducanu was only 18. In fact, the parallels between the two women extend even further, as they were both born in Toronto, and have a Romanian connection through their parents.

At the time of Andreescu’s breakthrough, she featured in an exciting batch of fast-rising players – also including Barty and Naomi Osaka – who looked ready to rule the women’s game for years to come.

It has been so disappointing to see this group’s results ebb away. Barty retired a year ago, while Osaka is now on maternity leave after a three-year period in which she played only 66 matches – 10 fewer than world No 1 Iga Swiatek managed last season alone.

Andreescu happened to come up against Swiatek in Indian Wells a fortnight ago, and contested an extremely competitive first set before fading in the second. All the evidence suggested that she was heading back towards the world’s top 10. But now, after this latest demoralising setback, she will have to go through another frustrating period of rehab.