Andreescu, Bouchard could return to court in June in South Carolina

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu appears to be over her injury woes and ready to get back on the tennis court.

Andreescu is slated to make her first tournament appearance since last October as one of 16 players launching the inaugural Credit One Bank Invitational in June.

The Tennis Channel made the announcement on Friday, with the tournament set to start on June 23 in Charleston, S.C.

Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, has not played since she suffered a knee injury in late October at the WTA Finals in China.

The 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., was hoping to defend her 2019 Indian Wells title in March at the BNP Paribas Open only to have to pull out due to the lingering injury.

The tournament ended up being halted by the COVID-19 pandemic only days after Andreescu pulled out, with the WTA Tour tennis season being put on a hiatus until July 13.

The Credit One Bank Invitational, consisting of 16 singles matches and eight doubles contests, will see competitors divided into two teams for the event and will have no fans in attendance.

Charleston is a regular stop on the WTA tour with the Volvo Car Open, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Credit One Bank Invitational is not part of the WTA Tour.

Canadians Eugenie Bouchard and Leylah Annie Fernandez are also expected to be part of the field.

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Wayne Gretzky sees Bianca Andreescu as ideal hero for kids in Canada

There’s a point, somewhere after being great at their sport, where athletes become something more than just exceptionally talented. They disrupt our assumptions. They become the ‘but’ in how their sports are understood — NHL players don’t score 200 points in a season, but there’s Wayne Gretzky, doing it three seasons in a row; undersized point guards from Canada don’t win prestigious NBA hardware, but there’s Steve Nash, winning back-to-back MVP awards.

This point is where heroes are made.

Few humans ever reach it. And those who’ve been there, who know what it takes to ascend that high, know intimately who else has seen those heights. So when Gretzky, the NHL’s 200-point hero himself, points to Canadian tennis phenom Bianca Andreescu as an ideal hero for the country’s youth, the opinion is one worth listening to.

“My hat goes off to her, I don’t think we could have a better hero in our country for young kids,” Gretzky told Nash and Vasek Pospisil in this week’s episode of Tennis United, a new ATP and WTA-produced digital show. “I think it’s just truly remarkable. She deserves all the credit that she’s getting.”

Gretzky’s familiarity with Andreescu’s particular path to greatness started where many people’s did — at the Indian Wells Open. Each year, the Great One makes the trip to Palm Springs to take in the event.

In 2019, making that trip meant watching Andreescu defeat four top-20 players in the last four rounds — including No. 6 Elina Svitolina and No. 8 Angelique Kerber in the semifinals and final respectively, both in three sets — en route to becoming the first wild card women’s singles champion in tournament history and the first 18-year-old to win the event since Serena Williams in 1999.

“I got to see her play in her

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Naomi Osaka tops Serena Williams on Forbes’ annual earnings list

Naomi Osaka has been a Grand Slam champion and No. 1 in the WTA rankings — and now she’s No. 1 on another list: top-earning female athlete.

According to a story posted on Forbes.com on Friday, the 22-year-old player earned $37.4 million over the past 12 months from endorsements and prize money, eclipsing Serena Williams in that span.

Forbes said Osaka’s total is a one-year record for a female athlete, topping the previous mark of 29.7 million set by Maria Sharapova in 2015.

Osaka is No. 29 overall, with Williams at No. 33, on Forbes’ annual list of the 100 top-earning athletes.

Williams had led the way among women each of the past four years.

Osaka beat Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open final and then added the 2019 Australian Open title, allowing her to become the first player from Asia to be No. 1 in the women’s or men’s tennis rankings.

Osaka has won about $14.5 million in career prize money, according to the WTA, a little less than half of which was earned in 2019.

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