Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka withdraws from Wimbledon

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  • No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka withdrew from Wimbledon due to a shoulder injury as the tournament started on Monday.
  • Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz won his third major championship at the French Open three weeks ago and defeated Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final. Alcaraz faces qualifier Mark Lajal of Estonia on Day 1.
  • Past Grand Slam title winners Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu were also set to play matches on the opening day of the tournament. Raducanu has been dealing with various injuries since she won the 2021 U.S. Open at age 18.

Aryna Sabalenka pulled out of Wimbledon because of a shoulder injury as the tournament started on Monday, overshadowing early results as everyone waited to find out whether Andy Murray would deem himself fit enough to compete.

Sabalenka, the two-time Australian Open champion, said she was “heartbroken” to announce her withdrawal after it became clear in a practice session that she wasn’t ready.

The No. 3 seed was seen as top contender at the All England Club, which has seen seven different women win the title in the last seven years.

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No. 9-seeded Maria Sakkari was among the early winners, and said after beating McCartney Kessler 6-3, 6-1 that the women’s draw is wide open.

“We could name like 20, 25 girls that could win the tournament right now,” Sakkari said.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus reacts as she plays Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in a Wimbledon women's singles semifinal match.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus reacts as she plays Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in a women’s singles semifinal match on day eleven of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, on July 13, 2023.  Sabalenka withdrew from Wimbledon on July 1, 2024, because of an injured shoulder. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

No. 7-seeded Jasmine Paolini, the French Open runner-up last month, got past the first round at Wimbledon on her fourth try. The Italian beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5, 6-3.

On the men’s side, No. 5-seeded Daniil Medvedev beat Aleksander Kovacevic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, and No. 8-seeded Casper Ruud topped Alex Bolt 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4. Unseeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov eliminated No. 19 Nicolas Jarry 6-1, 7-5, 6-4.

Denis Shapovalov of Canada holds up his racket and pumps his fist in celebration on the court.

Denis Shapovalov of Canada celebrates during his first round match against Nicolas Jarry of Chile at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy)

Also Monday, defending champion Carlos Alcaraz and past Grand Slam title winners Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu were all set to play matches at Centre Court.

Alcaraz just won his third major championship at the French Open three weeks ago. He defeated Novak Djokovic in last year’s final at Wimbledon. Alcaraz faces qualifier Mark Lajal of Estonia on Day 1 on the All England Club’s grass courts.

Mark Lajal of Estonia plays a forehand return to Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during their first round match of the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Mark Lajal of Estonia plays a forehand return to Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during their first round match of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Raducanu won the 2021 U.S. Open at age 18, but she has been dealing with various injuries since then. Her scheduled opponent — 22nd-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova — withdrew Monday morning because of illness. Alexandrova was replaced by Renata Zarazua, a so-called “lucky loser” from the qualifying tournament.

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Gauff, who won the U.S. Open last September, closes out the day’s schedule in the main stadium against Caroline Dolehide in an all-American matchup.

No. 1-ranked Jannik Sinner is also on Monday’s schedule, playing Yannick Hanfmann at No. 1 Court.



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