Elena Rybakina, Reigning Wimbledon Champion, Pulls Out of French Open Due to Sickness

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 1, 2023 Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina during her second round match against Czech Republic's Linda Noskova. (Reuters)
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 1, 2023 Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina during her second round match against Czech Republic's Linda Noskova. (Reuters)
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Elena Rybakina, Reigning Wimbledon Champion, Pulls Out of French Open Due to Sickness

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 1, 2023 Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina during her second round match against Czech Republic's Linda Noskova. (Reuters)
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 1, 2023 Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina during her second round match against Czech Republic's Linda Noskova. (Reuters)

Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina pulled out of the French Open before her third-round match on Saturday because she is sick.

“I just wanted to give 100%, and obviously I’m far from being 100%,” Rybakina said. “If I cannot breathe, there is no chance I can even run and try to compete.”

The No. 4-seeded Rybakina was supposed to face 132nd-ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo in the day's opening contest on Court Philippe Chatrier.

They were scheduled to begin playing at 11:45 a.m. local time, but instead, at that very moment, Rybakina sat down behind the microphone at a news conference to explain why she was withdrawing from the year's second Grand Slam tournament.

Sounding stuffed up, Rybakina explained that she has been running a fever, didn't sleep well the past two nights and had difficulty breathing during a warmup session Saturday ahead of her match. She said a doctor told her there is a virus going around “here in Paris.”

Rybakina, who won each of her first two matches this week in straight sets, was considered among the top contenders for the championship at Roland Garros. She has won her past 10 matches, including a tuneup title on red clay at the Italian Open last month.

She plays a power-built game based in part on one of the best serves on the WTA Tour, which she leads in aces this season.

Last July, Rybakina won her first major trophy, defeating Ons Jabeur in the final at Wimbledon.

Rybakina is a 23-year-old who was born in Moscow and has represented Kazakhstan since 2018, when that country offered her funding to support her tennis career. The switch was a topic of conversation during Wimbledon, because the All England Club barred athletes who represent Russia or Belarus from entering the tournament in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine.

The walkover allows the 26-year-old Sorribes Tormo to advance to the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career.



Spain Players’ Euro 2024 Celebration Song Pushes Gibraltar Soccer Body to Weigh Complaint to UEFA

File: Spain’s Alvaro Morata holds the trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after winning the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. Spain won 2-1. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
File: Spain’s Alvaro Morata holds the trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after winning the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. Spain won 2-1. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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Spain Players’ Euro 2024 Celebration Song Pushes Gibraltar Soccer Body to Weigh Complaint to UEFA

File: Spain’s Alvaro Morata holds the trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after winning the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. Spain won 2-1. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
File: Spain’s Alvaro Morata holds the trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after winning the final match between Spain and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 14, 2024. Spain won 2-1. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Gibraltar’s soccer federation said Tuesday it is taking legal advice about Spain players’ “extremely provocative and insulting” chants at a welcome home party for the European Championship title winner.

In Madrid on Monday evening, Spain captain Alvaro Morata and player of the tournament Rodri led thousands of fans singing “Gibraltar is Spanish.” It was at a celebration for the team’s 2-1 win over England in the Euro 2024 final on Sunday in Berlin, The aP reported.

Gibraltar, on the southern tip of Spain, has been a British overseas territory for more than 300 years with a population of about 35,000 people. Spain has maintained its sovereignty claim.

Gibraltar has been an independent member of European soccer body UEFA since 2013 and FIFA three years later but the diplomatic issue has meant its teams are separated from Spanish opponents in competition draws.

“Football has no place for behavior of this nature,” the Gibraltar federation said Tuesday in a statement, noting the “extremely provocative and insulting nature of the celebrations around the Spanish men’s national team winning Euro 2024.”

The federation said it is taking legal advice about a formal complaint to UEFA for “unacceptable chanting and songs.”

UEFA has clear jurisdiction over political statements and chants at stadiums of games it organizes, though the Spain players sang at a public square in Madrid.

Footage of the incident Monday showed Morata, who previously played in England for Chelsea, reminding long-time Manchester City star Rodri that he still plays in that country. Rodri reportedly replied “I don’t care.”