Last year's Madrid Open saw the rise of Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, who secured her first WTA 1000 title. However, her hopes of defending her hard-earned title have been dashed as she announced her withdrawal from this year's tournament on Monday.
The World No.4, who is now set to drop to at least seventh place in the WTA Rankings, revealed that she is suffering from a left calf injury, which forced her to make the difficult decision.
Jabeur's withdrawal comes shortly after her semifinal appearance at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she had to retire due to the same issue. While battling against World No.1 Iga Swiatek, Jabeur found herself trailing 3-0 and ultimately decided to retire, prioritizing her health and recovery.
This isn't the first setback Jabeur has faced this season. After the Australian Open, she underwent minor knee surgery, which caused her to miss the entire Middle East swing in February. However, she made a strong comeback in the Sunshine Double and showed her prowess on clay, winning her fourth career WTA singles title in Charleston at the beginning of April.
Taking to social media, the two-time Grand Slam finalist shared her disappointment with fans, explaining that medical exams had uncovered a small tear in her calf muscle, requiring additional recovery time.
"Hello from Madrid, an update on my situation. 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. I am sad to announce that I won't be able to compete and defend my title this year at Madrid Open. I would like to wish to everyone and the tournament a great event and looking forward to coming back next year."
In Jabeur's absence, Shelby Rogers from the United States will now assume the No.33 seed position in the Madrid Open main draw. Previously the highest-ranked unseeded player, Rogers' original spot in the draw will be filled by either a qualifier or a lucky loser.