TORONTO (AP) — Current and former players are praising teenager Bianca Andreescu of Canada — not only for winning her third title of the year and first on home soil, but for the gracious way she handled a surprise retirement by Serena Williams.
Andreescu won the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday after an emotional Williams said she could not continue in the final because of back spasms.
Williams’ decision initially caught Andreescu off guard, but the younger player quickly went over to console the 37-year-old American star.
“I’m a pretty outgoing person and I felt like I knew what to say at that moment because I knew exactly how she felt because of what I’ve been through the last couple of months with my shoulder and even last year with my back,” the 19-year-old Andreescu said Monday in a phone interview with The Canadian Press.
Williams called Andreescu an “old soul” and a “great sportswoman.” Those words meant a lot to Andreescu, who grew up idolizing the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
“I’ve watched (Williams) play my whole life,” she said. “She’s a champion and she’s…