A tearful Serena Williams retired after four games during the Rogers Cup final because of back spasms and is still seeking her first title since becoming a mother.
Trailing Bianca Andreescu 3-1 in the final, Williams retired, handing the title to Andreescu, the 19-year-old Canadian of Romanian descent.
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,” a crying Williams told the crowd in Toronto. “But I just I couldn’t do it. Thanks to Jehovah for letting me come out here. And Bianca, you’re a great sportswoman. And thanks for my team. It’s been a tough year but we’ll keep going.”
Williams said the back issues first began Saturday night after her semifinal victory over Marie Bouskova, and then they acted up again during the final on Sunday.
“It started yesterday in my match and it just got worse,” she told reporters. “Just my whole back just completely spasmed, and to a point where I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t really move. And so I was just trying to figure out, How do you play a match where you have no rotation?”
She added: “I would have really regretted not at least going out there and seeing maybe if a miracle happened. I’ve had this before and it’s 24-36 hours where I’m in crazy spasm and then it’s gone. That’s a frustrating for me because I know that I could play. I just can’t play today.