Defending champion Bianca Andreescu, last year’s runner-up Angelique Kerber and 2015 winner Simona Halep have all withdrawn from Indian Wells with injury.
The upcoming BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells has been hit by a triple threat of injury blows, with Andreescu, Kerber and Halep all forced to pull out of the first Premier Mandatory tournament of the season.
Andreescu, who stormed to her maiden WTA title in Indian Wells in extraordinary circumstances 12 months ago, will not return to defend her crown due to an ongoing knee injury.
The reigning U.S. Open champion suffered the injury at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen at the end of 2019 and hasn’t played since, withdrawing from four events in 2020, including the Australian Open.
“As many of you know, I’ve been working through an injury I suffered last year during the WTA Finals. It’s been a long road to recovery, and while I was looking forward to getting back on court and defending my title at Indian Wells, unfortunately, I’m still not 100%,” Andreescu said in a statement.
“I would like to thank you all for your continued support and sticking with me on this journey. Your kind words have been so uplifting.
“While I am disappointed that I am not competing next week in a tournament where I have such great memories, I am focused on my recovery and rehab and working hard to get back on the court as soon as possible.”
A wildcard at Indian Wells last year, Andreescu beat the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina and Kerber on her way to the silverware, becoming the first wildcard in the tournament’s history to win the title, while she was also the youngest champion since Serena Williams in 1999.
Kerber also won’t get the chance to defend her runner-up points, withdrawing due to a persistent leg injury.
“My patience is being tested these days as I’m still recovering from a left leg injury,” Kerber said in an Instagram post. “I was hoping to be ready in time for the upcoming tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, but my medical team advised me to give it a little bit more rest. Thanks for your support! I can’t wait to be back on court soon…”
Halep, the 2015 champion, revealed she had been dealing with a foot injury throughout the Middle East swing last month, and has also announced her withdrawal.
“I’m incredibly disappointed to have to withdraw from the 2020 BNP Paribas Open,” the reigning Wimbledon champion said in a statement.
“Unfortunately the foot injury that I picked up before Dubai is still causing me trouble and I will be unable to recover in time to travel to Indian Wells.It is without doubt one of the highlights of the tennis calendar for me and I will be really sad to miss it, but I’m already looking forward to being back in 2021.”
The 2020 BNP Paribas Open is live from Indian Wells between March 12-22.