MELBOURNE: Canada's Bianca Andreescu said on Friday she is healthy and ready to go for the Australian Open after her withdrawal from a WTA tuneup event this week sowed doubt she would be able to put a 15-month injury layoff behind her in Melbourne.
The 20-year-old, who has not played since the 2019 WTA Finals in Shenzhen where she retired with a meniscus tear in her left knee, is set to return in the first round against Romanian world number 138 Mihaela Buzarnescu.
"Me pulling out of the (Grampians Trophy) tournament, it was mainly because I had two weeks of not training, and I didn't want to take the risk of having just a couple of days' preparation before the tournament," she told reporters at Melbourne Park.
"I'm healthy, though. I'm ready to go."
The 2019 U.S. Open champion was one of 72 players confined to their hotel rooms in Melbourne after passengers on three charter flights taking them to Australia tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
She said she spent a lot of time playing 'Call of Duty' on her XBOX during isolation, but the two-week lockdown meant she was unsure if her body could handle a full competitive match.
"I told myself that I'd have at least before a big tournament a good week where I can play sets before actually going into a tournament," she said. "Having those two weeks off, that doesn't help at all.
"I can do gym fitness, shadow tennis, but that's not the same as being on the court. I didn't want to make the same mistake."
The world number eight said she was going into the year's first Grand Slam with low expectations but her goals and mindset had not changed.
"One thing ... I was doing during the quarantine, I was watching myself play back in 2019," she said. "I really got into the mood, into the mindset.
"I know I'm going to be sore as hell after my first match. That's for sure. I'm not looking forward to it."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)