Sabalenka struggling with shoulder injury ahead of Wimbledon

The Belarusian said she’s not certain to play her first-round match

Aryna Sabalenka Berlin 2024 Action Plus/Panoramic

Aryna Sabalenka admitted on Saturday that there is a possibility she will not be able to play at Wimbledon due to a shoulder injury.

The world No 3, a semi-finalist on her last two visits, said she has been battling a problem in her right shoulder which is giving her pain when she tries to serve.

“It’s ‘teres major’,” she told reporters at the All England Club. “Like, shoulder. For someone who doesn’t speak very well English, I call it just shoulder injury. It’s really a specific injury, and it’s really a rare one. Probably I’m just the second or the third tennis player who injured that muscle.

“It’s a very frustrating one. The most annoying thing is that I can do anything. I can practice, I can hit my groundstrokes. I’m struggling with serving. That’s really annoying. You don’t feel like you’re injured. If you give me some weights, I’m going to go lift some weights. But if you tell me to serve, I’m going to go through pain. We did an MRI, we did everything. We did a lot of rehab, a lot of treatments and everything.

“”I still have my hopes. As someone who been fighting through a lot of different pains in the past months, I still have my hopes.””I still have my hopes. As someone who been fighting through a lot of different pains in the past months, I still have my hopes.”

But when asked to clarify if it was possible she could miss the event, Sabalenka said: “”There is always a chance, yeah.”

Managing the injury may not be possible

Sabalenka suffered from a stomach issue at the French Open, which she said took “five days” to recover from. She then retired from the WTA event in Berlin with the shoulder issue.

Sabalenka said she was unsure if she will be able to manage it through Wimbledon. “I would say that’s something I have to figure out right now,” she said. “If I’ll not figure out that, then I can only make things worse. I don’t want that. I don’t want to risk the rest of the season.

“We’re doing our best. As competitors, we’re not going to give up that easily. The last week, we’ve been really lots of different things we’ve been trying. Yeah, I have another day, another day and a half, to try some more stuff and see where I am. I still have my hopes.”

Sabalenka also clarified why she has decided not to play at the Olympics this summer, saying the physical workload was too much.

“I’m sad to miss the Olympics,” she said. “But the main thing was the scheduling was really tough. Recently I’ve been struggling with a lot of things health-wise, injury-wise. My body is kind of, like, showing that I have to take care of myself. I just decided to sacrifice Olympics for my career, for my health actually.”

Sabalenka is due to play Emina Bektas of the USA in her first match on Monday.

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