Serena Williams retired with a back injury in the final of the the Rogers Cup in Toronto, handing the title to Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu.
Williams, 37, was left in tears after suffering back spasms as 19-year-old Andreescu comforted her courtside, the 19-year-old of Canadian and Romanian descent leaving her to become the 1st Canadian to win the tournament since 1969.
The two women had a friendly conversation and Andreescu bent down to hug Williams after she retired. “I’m sorry I couldn’t do it today, I tried. But I just I couldn’t do it. Thanks to Jehovah for letting me come out here. And Bianca, you’re a great sports woman. And thanks for my team. It’s been a tough year but we’ll keep going” a crying Williams told the crowd in Toronto.
Williams said the back issues first began on Saturday night after her semifinal victory over Marie Bouskova, and then they acted up again during the final on Sunday. Williams, who turns 38 next month, was playing her first tournament since losing in the Wimbledon final last month to Simona Halep.
Williams has won 23 career Grand Slam titles and needs one more to tie Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24.
Andreescu, meantime, becomes the first Canadian in 50 years to win the title in her home country.
“I know how it is to pull out of tournaments and this is not easy. And this is not the way I expected to win and for you to go off the court. But you are truly a champion. I watched you so play so many times. You are truly a champion on and off the court” Andreescu said.