Miami [US], March 22 (ANI): Defending champion and World No.1 Iga Swiatek has been forced to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a rib injury.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the World No. 1 said that since winning the Qatar Open last month, she has been treating the ailment. Swiatek was the top seed in Miami, and after receiving a first-round bye, she was scheduled to face American Claire Liu in the second round on Thursday.
"You know that in and after Doha I was struggling with a strong infection. I was allowed to play, but a strong episode of tough cough led to a rib injury. We were trying to handle it and continue to play as long as it was safe for me. We were analyzing the data in the last days and my doctor prepared my diagnosis," Swiatek said in a tweet.
"Unfortunately, I'm still feeling a lot of discomfort and pain and I can't compete," she added.
Swiatek alluded to her physical problems in an Instagram post after losing to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the Indian Wells Open quarterfinals.
"I gave it all but Elena was a better player today. Unfortunately I'm feeling discomfort and pain in my ribs and it was challenging for me to compete at my highest level. Now, I just need to consult with my medical team and I will definitely use these next days to recover," she wrote.
She said that the injury will also keep her out of Poland's Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier against Kazakhstan, to be played in Astana from April 14-15.
"I will keep you updated about where I play next, because it depends on my process of recovering and the recommendation of my medical team. I have the best team behind me, we only need some time to deal with the injury. It's a truly difficult call to not play in Miami and BJKC, but health is the most important," she said.
"I'm grateful this is the first health issue in a long time and I was able to compete in perfect shape for so long, but that's sports, it happens sometimes, without our control. Time to accept it and get well as soon as possible," Swiatek added.
Swiatek became the fifth woman to complete the Sunshine Double by winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back in 2017, capturing the title without dropping a set on the way.
In the women's draw, Swiatek will be replaced by unlucky loser Julia Grabher. (ANI)