French Open Tennis

Illness Forces Elena Rybakina To Forsake Her 2023 French Open Dream

The world number 4 Elena Rybakina came to Paris as the third favourite for the Roland Garros title. In great form so far in 2023, winning 8 consecutive games on clay the Kazak looked like a woman on a mission in the first 2 rounds. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond her control forced Rybakina to withdraw from the 2023 French Open before her round 3 match due to illness.

What happened at Roland Garros to force one of the main favourites Rybakina to withdraw?

The world number 4 and 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina came into Paris full of hope and self-belief after winning 2 WTA 1000 events earlier this year. The second of those on the clay courts of Rome just before the start of the Roland Garros.

Rybakina looked like her usual ruthless self in her first 2 matches at Roland Garros. She beat the dangerous Czechs Fruhvirtova and Noskova without dropping a set or even being close to doing so. All looked smooth sailing for the Kazak. However, on Saturday morning literally hours before she was due to take to court for her round 3 match, Rybakina held a short press conference and announced her withdrawal from the tournament due to illness. Here is what she had to say:

“I saw the doctor and they said that actually it’s all a virus here in Paris. I guess with my allergy, immune system just went down and I picked up something. As I said, I was not sleeping well for two days. I had fever, headache. I think you can hear [my voice] also. So, yeah, it’s difficult to perform and obviously to run and even breathe. So I think that was the only right decision I could make.”

Rybakina told the reporters she began feeling unwell after her round 2 match but that she hoped she’ll get better on time before her next game. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened and the fans in France and around the world won’t be able to watch one of the most talented players anymore in this year’s French Open.

“I wasn’t feeling good yesterday and the day before so I didn’t sleep two nights and had some fever,” Rybakina, who has battled pollen allergies in the past, told reporters. “Today I really tried during the warm-up but I feel that the right decision is to withdraw because it’s really tough to play in this condition.”

Elena Rybakina
(Photo by Pierre Costabadie/Icon Sport)

What comes next on the calendar for Elena Rybakina

The next step for Elena Rybakina would be to use the second week of Roland Garros to get over her illness and resume training. The Kazak is about to enter a crucial period of the year for her as she has a lot to play for in the coming grass season.

Rybakina is scheduled to start her grass season in Berlin before moving to Eastbourne. The culmination of her grass campaign will undoubtedly be her attempt to defend her 2022 Wimbledon title. Ever since she won Wimbledon nearly a year ago Rybakina had been one of the most consistent and successful players on the WTA Tour and we wish her a speedy recovery.

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About the author


Iskra had a promising, at least she believed so, tennis and volleyball careers as a junior but a series of injuries ended her hopes to become a professional athlete very early.

Instead, she focused all her energy on her other passion, writing. For over a decade, Iskra had been a freelance sports writer. Football, basketball and tennis are the main fields of her expertise.