Aryna Sabalenka tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, joining world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka in withdrawing from the renowned tournament in the California desert.
After the withdrawal of No. 1 ranked Wimbledon winner Ashleigh Barty, who had not been back to Australia since March, the Belarusian was set to be the tournament’s top seed.
“Unfortunately I’ve tested positive at Indian Wells and won’t be able to compete. I’ve started my isolation and I’ll be staying here until I’m cleared by the doctors and health officials. So far I’m feeling OK but really sad to not be able to play this year,” she told on her Instagram post.
An unfortunate withdrawal for Sabalenka
Sabalenka would have competed in the tournament in the California desert for the first time since losing in the semi-finals of the US Open to Leylah Fernandez.
The 23-year-old is one of several tennis players who have expressed reservations about getting the vaccine, claiming earlier this year that she did not trust it.
Naomi Osaka, who is taking yet another break from the sport, will also be absent from the women’s draw.
The tournament is being contested in the autumn for the first time after being postponed in March. Indian Wells is one of the most renowned destinations on the WTA and ATP Tours.
Emma Raducanu, the US Open champion, will make her first appearance since winning the title in New York last month, and she was spotted practising at the venue on Saturday.