Ons Jabeur suffers injury scare ahead of French Open after pulling out of Madrid Masters

Tunisian world No 4 will not defend title in Spanish capital due to calf problem

A tearful Ons Jabeur shakes hands with Iga Swiatek after the Tunisian was forced to retire injured from their Stutttgart Open semi-final, on April 22, 2023. AFP
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Ons Jabeur has suffered an injury scare with the French Open a little over a month away after being forced to pull out of this week's Madrid Masters.

The Tunisian was left in tears after retiring from her semi-final match against world 1 Iga Swiatek in the Stuttgart Open on Saturday due to a calf problem.

“I’m sorry guys, I really tried. But in the third point, I don’t know what happened,” an emotional Jabeur told the crowd in Germany after limping out 3-0 down in the opening set.

And the world No 4 revealed on Tuesday that the problem means she could no longer defend the Madrid crown she won last year when she beat American Jessica Pegula in the final to become the first Arab or African winner of a WTA 1000 title.

Jabeur was due to face Romania's Ana Bogdan or Anna Bondar of Hungary in the second round in the Spanish capital on Thursday.

“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,” the 28-year-old said on social media.

“I’m sad to announce that I won’t 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.”

Jabeur, who was on a seven-match winning run after coming back from minor knee surgery earlier this year, will now have to focus on recovering in time for the French Open that begins in Paris on May 28.

She came into Roland Garros last year as one of the title favourites after success on red clay – including the title in Madrid – but lost in the first round to Poland's Magda Linette.

Jabeur – who was runner-up at both Wimbledon and the US Open Grand Slams last season – is the latest high-profile player to withdraw from Madrid, joining 22-time Grand Slam champions Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on the absent list.

Updated: April 25, 2023, 9:10 AM