Sabalenka makes worrying injury comment as French Open organisers face nightmare

Sabalenka makes worrying injury comment as French Open organisers face nightmare

Aryna Sabalenka has raised concerns after overcoming a back injury to reach the Italian Open final. The world No. 2 thought she was going to have to pull out of the tournament and still could, admitting that she would have to retire from the championship match if something happened. It raises fears with the French Open looming, as a number of top players are already facing injuries that could force them out of the tournament.

Sabalenka has reached back-to-back finals at the WTA 1000 events in Madrid and Rome. Two weeks ago, she blew championship points to lose a close three-setter to Iga Swiatek. The 26-year-old now has a shot at revenge as she bids to win the Italian Open for the first time.

The two-time Grand Slam champion is somewhat surprised to find herself in another final given that she has been battling an injury this fortnight. She needed a medical time-out during her win over Elina Svitolina on Monday and has now revealed that she likely would have pulled out of the tournament if she didn’t have a day to rest between matches.

“After Madrid, I didn’t feel great. I had illness, then I got injured. I kind of surprised that I even was so much stuff going on I was able to made it to the final. Kind of like surprised, Sabalenka said after beating Danielle Collins in the semi-final. “At the same time I knew that the level is there. If I start feeling better, I can go to the finals. So it’s like 50/50, you know?”

With the French Open just over a week away, Sabalenka won’t want to take any chances but she has seen an improvement in her back this week as she tries to recover fully in time for the next Grand Slam tournament. She continued: “I was considering retiring from the tournament. Lucky me, I had an extra day. I was doing a lot of recovery.

“I’m still doing lots of exercise, lots of treatments, always taking care of my lower back. It’s getting better. So I guess we’re on the right way. I don’t know. I’m doing everything myself to recover as fast as I can and to be ready for the Paris. Right now I’m feeling great. I’m not in pain during the matches.”

But she could still make a drastic decision if her injury flares up in Saturday’s final. “Of course, if something going to happen in the match, I’m going to pull out because Paris is around the corner. Hopefully it’s not going to happen. I feel like it’s not going to happen. So just stay positive,” she added.

Jannik Sinner is the biggest concern. The world No. 2 is carrying a hip injury that saw him withdraw from the Madrid Open ahead of his quarter-final. He then missed the Italian Open and there are reports that he is likely to skip Roland Garros. Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz’s clay season has been marred by a right forearm injury.

He missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona before returning in Madrid, where he lost in the quarter-final and aggravated his arm. The Spaniard also pulled out of Rome and did not touch a racket for 12 days. He will travel to Paris next week hoping to play but it remains to be seen whether his arm will prevent him from competing.

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