Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur - Roland Garros 2024

Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur headline growing Olympic withdrawal list

The Paris Olympic withdrawal list keeps on growing, with top 10 WTA players Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur citing surface changes and scheduling as part of their reasons for pulling out.

Sabalenka is a Belarusian national, but would be able to compete at the Paris Olympics as a neutral athlete later this year.

However, the two-time Australian Open champion told press in Berlin yesterday that she would not be playing at the Games for different reasons, “I’m not going to play the Olympics. Especially with all the struggles I’ve been struggling with the last months, I feel I have to take care of my health. It’s too much for the scheduling.”

She continued, “You have to sacrifice something. I prefer to have a little rest to make sure physically and health-wise I’m ready for the hard courts…and I’ll have a good preparation before going to the hard court season. I feel that this is safer and better for my body.”

The tennis events will take place on the clay of Roland Garros, with world No.10 Ons Jabeur releasing a statement of her own revealing why she would be skipping the chance to represent Tunisia at what would have been her fourth Olympic Games.

“After consulting with my medical team regarding attending the Olympics in Paris, we have decided that the quick change of surface and the body’s adaptation required would put my knee at risk and jeopardise the rest of my season,” explained Jabeur.

“Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics. I have always loved representing my country in any competition. However, I must listen to my body and follow my medical team’s advice.”

Both Sabalenka and Jabeur join a list of withdrawals that include Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Ben Shelton, Liudmila Samsonova, Elise Mertens, with Emma Raducanu also turning down a wildcard spot as a Grand Slam champion.

The tennis events at the Paris Olympic Games will take place between Saturday 27th July and Sunday 4th August.

Inside the baseline…

From a fan point of view it is obviously disappointing that some of the best players are not going to be competing at the Paris Olympics. However, the quick surface change from grass-clay-hard courts makes it a very tricky transition and therefore it is understandable that players do not want to put their bodies under too much risk, particularly those with recent injury woes like Ons Jabeur and Emma Raducanu.

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu claims the Olympic Games are ‘not worth the risk’ this year

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.