Serena Williams broke down in tears.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t do it today,” the 37-year-old superstar told the thousands of stunned and silent fans packed into a sold-out Aviva Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Back spasms. “Incredibly painful,” she said. No chance of playing it out.
So after logging long, gruelling hours on court all week, it took mere minutes for Bianca Andreescu to win a history-making title at the Rogers Cup in what will go down as the most anti-climactic final in recent memory in women’s tennis.
Nineteen minutes into the dream matchup — Serena, the all-time great, versus Andreescu, the hometown hero from Mississauga — and it was over. What was supposed to be an epic battle turned to an immediate nightmare and fast exit for the former, and subdued elation for the latter.
The end of any hope of a record-tying fourth Rogers Cup title for Williams. The beginning of a new chapter of excellence in Canadian tennis.