Elena Rybakina Health Update: could Wimbledon’s defending champion withdraw?

The 2023 Wimbledon is fast approaching and the ladies had a new champion 12 months ago when the Kazakh player Elena Rybakina lifted her maiden Grand Slam title. Since that triumph Rybakina’s career has gone from strength to strength and she is currently the world number 3 and the joint-top favourite to defend her Wimbledon crown. However, just within the last 4 weeks, Rybakina had to withdraw from 2 tournaments, the first being the 2023 French Open, citing viral illness. This is worrying regarding her realistic chances of being fully fit and ready to roar again at Wimbledon.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina celebrates with the The Venus Rosewater Dish following victory over Ons Jabeur in The Final of the Ladies’ Singles on day thirteen of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Saturday July 9, 2022. – Photo by Icon sport

What happened to Rybakina at the French Open?

After reaching the Australian Open final back in February and winning 2 WTA1000 titles in the following months Rybakina came into the Roland Garros as one of the favourites. She looked solid in her first 2 matches in Paris and despite some shaky moments in round 2 Rybakina won both times relatively easily. However, in the morning before her round 3 match, Rybakina held a press conference and announced that she is withdrawing.

Rybakina explained that she is having serious respiratory problems and struggles breathing even walking let alone playing competitive tennis. She attributed that to her many allergies and a viral infection that has only exasperated the issue.

What happened to Rybakina at Eastbourne?

After taking 2 full weeks to supposedly recover Rybakina played at the Berlin Open in mid-June where she wasn’t at her best and lost in round 2. Her next warm-up even before the title defence of Wimbledon begins was supposed to be Eastbourne where Rybakina was also the number 1 seed.

However, on the morning of her round 1 match, Rybakina held another press conference and citing the same viral infection that stopped her Roland Garros run she withdrew from the tournament. Rybakina trained well the day before this announcement. She looked in good spirits too and yet on Monday morning this is what she said:

“Unfortunately, I have to withdraw here in Eastbourne today,” she said on Monday. I am still recovering from the virus I had in Paris and after Roland Garros it was really tough. I also picked up another small issue in Berlin, so my team and I decided it would be better to recover this week and prepare for Wimbledon.”

Could Rybakina be forced to miss Wimbledon?

With the 2023 Wimbledon starting on the 03rd of July, there is serious concern that the defending ladies’ champion Elena Rybakina won’t be anywhere near her best form. Rybakina seems to struggle to shake off her breathing problems caused by this viral infection.

We don’t think she will even consider not playing. However, as recent events show Rybakina could pull out of the tournament at any time or simply suffer a shocking early exit.

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