After Serena Williams had to withdraw from her tennis match in Toronto on Sunday due to an injury, her opponent Bianca Andreescu came over to offer encouragement and support.
Williams, 37, was forced to retire with an upper back injury in the first set of her Rogers Cup women’s singles final against Andreescu, which made the 19-year-old the first Canadian to win the cup in 50 years.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, was visibly upset at the decision and began crying on her bench. Shortly thereafter, Andreescu came over to embrace her and give words of support and admiration.
“Are you OK? What’s happening?” the teen asked. When Williams told her about the injury, Andreescu said, “I’ve watched you your whole career. You’re a fucking beast.”
The interaction led to cheers and applause throughout the stadium.
Later when Andreescu was dubbed winner of the match, she spoke about the interaction.
“I know how it is to pull out of tournaments and be injured, it’s not easy. This isn’t the way I expected to win, but you’re truly a champion,” the Canadian teen said to Williams. “I’ve watched you play so many times, you are truly a champion on and off the court.”
At her post-match press conference, Williams praised Andreescu, calling her an “old soul” in response to how the teen reached out to her, according to CBC News.
“I’m officially a fan,” Williams said of her opponent. “I was really sad and she made me feel better.”
Williams is an adviser to HuffPost’s parent company, Verizon Media.