Ons Jabeur pulls out of Dubai Duty Free Championships due to injury

Tunisian will undergo more medical treatment on knee problem and will shift focus to getting fit for US swing

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Ons Jabeur has been forced to drop out of the Dubai Duty Free Championships after failing to recover from a knee problem.

The world No 6 had admitted on Sunday that she was struggling to be fit for the next tournament in the Middle East swing. And 24 hours later tournament organisers announced that the 29-year-old was not going to be able to play.

Jabeur, who was due to make her ninth appearance at the WTA 1000 tournament this week, has been struggling with fitness issues since the start of the calendar year.

“Regrettably Ons Jabeur has had to pull out of this year’s tournament,” said tournament organisers in a statement. “We know how much this event means to her, playing in front of a strong Arab support. We wish her all the best in her recovery from injury and look forward to seeing her back in Dubai very soon.”

The Tunisian was knocked out in Round 2 of the Australian Open by Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva, the quarter-finals of the Abu Dhabi Open to Beatriz Haddad Maia and then in her opening match of the Qatar Open against Lesia Tsurenko.

Following the defeat against Haddad Maia, Jabeur looked visibly upset after clearly being hampered on court by the injury.

“Dear friends and family, I wanted to share with you all that my knee is not holding, it’s been unbearable to play with the pain and not being able to give my best on the court is frustrating,” Jabeur said in an official statement.

“After consultation of my doctors and team we have decided that I will have to withdraw from Dubai this week and go for more medical treatments.

“Looking forward to reconnect with all on the courts for the US swing. Thank you for your continuous support. Love you, Ons.”

It will clearly be a blow for Jabeur who was forced to miss the tournaments in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai last year after she underwent surgery on an enlarged nodule that was obstructing her airways.

The three-time Grand Slam finalist had been given a bye in the opening round and was due to face a qualifier in Round 2.

“I think it's the worst decision you can take because my heart wants to play and my body is not allowing so much,” Jabuer said on Saturday before the decision to withdraw had been made.

“I feel like I need to take the right decision and sometimes you have to take decisions where your heart is not agreeing with it. But all I know is that I'm doing my best to be ready for this tournament and be ready to play here and compete in front of amazing fans.”

Defending Dubai champion Barbora Krejcikova had already pulled out due to a back injury while four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka also said that she will not be competing at the tournament.

Updated: February 19, 2024, 3:53 AM