Defending champion Ons Jabeur admitted on Monday that she had withdrawn from defending her Madrid Open title with a calf injury. Earlier on Saturday, world no.4 Jabeur retired after playing three games against Iga Swiatek at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. The Tunisian player was injured during the last point of the first game in the semifinal. The two-time Grand Slam runner-up, who was on a run of seven-match winning streak after recovering from surgery earlier this year, was to face Hungary’s Anna Bondar or Romanian Ana Bogdan in the second round of the clay tournament in Madrid.
The 28-year-old top seed went for scans on Monday and the result was not good as a tear in her calf means she would not be able to defend her Madrid Open title. Further to many medical exams done, it shows that I have a small tear in my calf and I will need more time to recover, Jabeur gave an update on the situation by writing on her Instagram. I am sad to announce that I would not be able to compete and defend my title this year at the Madrid Open. I would like to wish everyone and the tournament a great event and looking forward to coming back next year, she concluded.
With this injury, Jabeur’s preparation for the 2023 French Open has suffered a big blow. Following a poor start to this season that saw her bowing out in the second round at the Australian Open, the Tunisian also missed the Middle East swing due to injury and only returned for the Sunshine Double. After early losses in both Indian Wells and Miami, Jabeur produced a brilliant effort to win her first title of the year at the Charleston Open, defeating Belinda Bencic in the summit clash.
She continued with her winning momentum and grabbed a spot in the semi-final of the Stuttgart Open, defeating the red-hot Jelena Ostapenko and experienced Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil. It remains to be seen if Jabeur will be fit for the Italian Open, which starts on May 8, with the Rome event as the final warm-up tournament before the second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, gets underway on May 28.
Earlier, former world no.1 Karolina Pliskova also withdrew from the Madrid Open due to a knee injury. But the 31-year-old Czech player said she hopes to recover in time for next month’s Italian Open ahead of the Roland-Garros.