LONDON • World No. 5 Elina Svitolina has expressed fears that a foot injury that contributed to her Aegon Classic defeat by Italian Camila Giorgi in Birmingham on Thursday could lead to her withdrawal from Wimbledon, which begins on July 3.
The in-form Ukrainian won the Italian Open in May and lost in the French Open quarter-finals this month, but has never progressed beyond the second round at the All England Club.
The 22-year-old has never won a tournament on grass and says that withdrawing from Wimbledon could help her get a head start in preparing for hard court tournaments later this year.
"I was really looking forward to Wimbledon. But today the court was slippery and it's so bad for my foot. I will do my best," she said.
Svitolina joins a number of top players racing to be fit for Wimbledon - with Nick Kyrgios, Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep and Juan Martin del Potro all withdrawing from warm-up tournaments for the third Grand Slam of the year.
Also on Thursday, Japanese world No. 9 Kei Nishikori was forced to retire injured in the second round of the Halle Open in Germany but insisted he was hopeful of being fit for Wimbledon.
The third seed in the grass court tournament was trailing 2-3 against Russia's Karen Khachanov when he felt a pain in his left hip. The 27-year-old had treatment courtside but in the end was forced to concede defeat.
4 Games new mum Victoria Azarenka managed to win in her second-round loss to Ana Konjuh at the Mallorca Open.
"It's very disappointing to retire like this again," said Nishikori, who withdrew from the Halle event last year before his second-round match against Florian Mayer and during his 2015 semi-final against Andreas Seppi. "Hopefully I will be okay for Wimbledon."
Earlier in the day, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka's return from maternity leave was cut short by young Croatian Ana Konjuh at the Mallorca Open.
The Belarusian, who saved match points in her first-round victory against Japan's Risa Ozaki, went down 6-1, 6-3 to the seventh seed on grass at Santa Ponsa.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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