Elina Svitolina - Australian Open 2024

Elina Svitolina ‘very sad’ after back spasms force tearful retirement

Elina Svitolina was forced to retire early on in her Australian Open quarter-final match, with the Ukrainian revealing that it ‘felt like someone shot’ her in the back.

Svitolina had carried on her momentum from last season since returning from maternity leave, reaching the final of Auckland and hadn’t dropped a set so far in Melbourne,.

However, this all came to a halt earlier today when the 29-year-old appeared to be struggling with back pains and took a medical timeout at 0-2 against Linda Noskova.

She returned to court, but after being broken again decided that enough was enough and retired from the match, awarding the Czech teenager the victory.

In her post-match press conference, Svitolina explained the situation, “I got a spasm, or I don’t know exactly what it is, but like shooting pain in the first game, the last two points. Yeah, couldn’t do anything. Completely locked my back. Just very sad, of course, so yeah.”

Understandably, the world No.23 was tearful when leaving the court and went onto say that it was like no other feeling she had felt before, “I felt little bit, but it’s quite normal. I’ve been playing some tennis in this tournament already. You know, fourth round, you have a little bit stiffness somewhere. Nothing really special. Like not a big issue before.

“This one I think I never had that before, the shooting pain like this. I had some injuries to my back before where it just was tiredness the next day of the match, but this one was really out of nowhere. I felt like someone shot me in the back.”

As Svitolina exits the tournament, Noskova moves onto the first Grand Slam quarter-final of her career and continues her great run after knocking out world No.1 Iga Swiatek.

Noskova will play another Ukrainian on Wednesday in Dayana Yastremska, as both players look to reach the first major semi-final of their respective careers.

Inside the baseline…

This was a major disappointment for Elina Svitolina, who was emerging as one of the dark horses after the draw had opened up for her. Having watched Svitolina over the years, everyone knows that she is a fighter and would not retire unless something was serious enough to prevent her from competing. The results today means that one of Linda Noskova, Dayana Yastremska, Anna Kalinskaya, Qinwen Zheng or Oceane Dodin will be in the Australian Open final.

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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.