Swiatek downplays injury ahead of French Open

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ROME — The right thigh injury that forced top-ranked Iga Swiatek to retire during her Italian Open quarterfinal “shouldn’t be anything serious,” the Polish player said Thursday.

Swiatek had to stop playing during the third set against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in a match that started late Wednesday evening.

“I felt pain in my right thigh. It was pretty sudden. At the beginning I didn’t really know if it was serious or not,” Swiatek said. “We did an examination with the physio afterwards. It shouldn’t be anything serious, so I’m pretty positive that I’ll be back soon.”

Swiatek will be aiming for a third French Open title — and second straight — when the clay-court Grand Slam begins in 10 days.

“To be ready for Roland Garros, I need to recover right now. I’m going to take couple of days off. … Since Stuttgart, I wasn’t really able to recover with that tight schedule that we have on WTA,” Swiatek said, referring to a tournament in Germany last month.

Swiatek won the French Open in 2020 and 2022. She was also a two-time defending champion in Rome and was on a 14-match winning streak at the Foro Italico.

It was 2-2 in the third when Swiatek stopped after more than two hours of play. She won the first set 6-2 before Rybakina took the second set 7-6 (3).

During the second-set tiebreaker, Swiatek grasped her right knee after shifting directions a few times behind the baseline. Close to tears, she took a medical timeout after the set and left the court. When she returned, her upper right thigh was bandaged. Then after four more games, she retired.

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