PARIS -- World No.4 Elena Rybakina withdrew from Roland Garros with an upper respiratory illness on Saturday. The reigning Wimbledon champion announced her decision before she was scheduled to take the court for her third-round match against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Rybakina told reporters she began feeling ill after her second-round match. She hoped to be able to play but struggled to sustain 10-minutes of work on the court.
"I saw the doctor and they said that actually it's all a virus here in Paris," Rybakina said. "I guess with my allergy, immune system just went down and I picked up something. As I said, I was not sleeping well for two days. I had fever, headache. I think you can hear [my voice] also.
"So, yeah, it's difficult to perform and obviously to run and even breathe. So I think that was the only right decision I could make."
A champion of two WTA 1000 events this year, including most recently on the clay in Rome two weeks ago, Rybakina was bidding to build on her momentum in Paris, where she was a quarterfinalist in 2021. She did not lose a set through her first two rounds of the tournament, defeating Brenda Fruhvirtova and Linda Noskova. Her 6-3, 6-3 win over Noskova was her eighth win in a row.
"Of course I'm really upset not be able to play, but I guess that's life," Rybakina said. "There is a lot of ups and downs. Today I just wanted to give 100 percent, and obviously I'm far from being 100 percent.
"Yeah, I was actually coming positive here, but as I said, you never know how you're gonna feel. Was unlucky for me. Yeah, I just try to recover and do my best to be prepared for the grass season already."
Rybakina's next tournaments during the grass season are scheduled to be Berlin, Eastbourne and Wimbledon, where she is the defending champion.
With Rybakina's withdrawal, Sorribes Tormo advances via walkover and is into her first Round of 16 at a Slam. She will await the winner of 14th-seed Beatriz Haddad Maia or 23rd-seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.