Two high profile players have withdrawn from the women’s singles draw at the French Open, which starts on Sunday in Paris, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Czech Marketa Vondrousova, both former finalists at Roland Garros.
“First of all, we will now have a mixed zone for the players who do not raise big attendance in the press room. To make something more dynamic, more friendly for the players and a bit faster. As soon as it’s finished, it doesn’t drag on. If a player receives the same question or a similar question, the moderator will have the right just to move onto the next question. It’s not to censor the press, but it’s just to show a little common sense at certain moments to be able to move on. The post match for players will be made more fluid. Amélie Mauresmo, French Open Tournament Director
Pavlyuchenkova decided to end her 2022 season early because of lingering pain from a knee injury and announced on Tuesday that she will miss the rest of the season to address the issue.
The 30-year-old has only played 3 tournaments so far this year, and lost her opening match at last week’s Italian Open while struggling physically.
“I’m very sad to say that I’m forced to withdraw from Roland Garros and the rest of the tournaments this year,” Pavlyuchenkova wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Pavlyuchenkova reached her maiden Grand Slam final 12 months ago in Paris but lost a tight three-set match to eventual champion Czech Barbora Krejcikova.
“I have been playing this in my head for the last week and it has been a really tough decision to make, as Roland Garros was always very special to me, especially after a dream run last year,” she added.
“But due to the pain for a long time, now the injury is limiting me physically and mentally to compete and practice fully.
“After rehabbing for months this year and only played at 3 events, the last two tournaments has showed me, that the pain was still there and I wasn’t ready, so I have decided to take more time and come back stronger next year!
“Thanks for the support. Until next year!” Pavlyuchenkova wrote on Instagram.
The injury has seen Pavlyuchenkova slip to 21 in the WTA rankings, down from a career-high of World No 11 last November.
The decision comes just a few days after the Russian claimed her 6th WTA doubles title at the Italian Open partnered by compatriot Veronika Kudermetova.
“The last two tournaments has showed me that the pain was still there and I wasn’t ready,” Pavlyuchenkova added. “I have decided to take more time and come back stronger next year! ”
The 30-year-old first complained of a left knee injury following her third-round loss at the Australian Open in January.
Pavlyuchenkova had one of the best seasons of her career last year, rising to a career-high ranking of 11 after the French Open, and then claiming the gold medal in mixed doubles at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Andrey Rublev.
Meanwhile, 2019 French Open runner-up Vondrousova also will not be competing at Roland Garros after undergoing a wrist surgery.
Vondrousova is set to skip the French Open but hinted she could be ready for the grass season.
“Hey guys. The last few weeks were not easy. I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist and after seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain free.
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,” Vondrousova announced on Instagram.
Elsewhere, Tournament Director Amélie Mauresmo has announced some changes to the press arrangements at Roland Garros this year in response to Naomi Osaka’s concerns highlighted last year.
Mauresmo says the tournament will make some changes to their approach to the media after Osaka announced she would not be doing press conferences during last year’s tournament.
Following her first round, Osaka gave an on-court interview but refused to go into a press conference despite being mandated to do so as a top-10 player.
The former World No 1 was fined and later pulled out of the tournament, citing mental health issues brought about by repeated questioning by the media.
“I know what Osaka is talking about,” Mauresmo told Eurosport. “It’s something that I personally felt when I was playing.
“It was not as bad as now, especially because there was no social media, or much less at the time.
“So I think that, today, this issue is even more present.
“First of all, we will now have a mixed zone for the players who do not raise big attendance in the press room.
“To make something more dynamic, more friendly for the players and a bit faster. As soon as it’s finished, it doesn’t drag on,” Mauresmo added.
“If a player receives the same question or a similar question, the moderator will have the right just to move onto the next question.
“It’s not to censor the press, but it’s just to show a little common sense at certain moments to be able to move on. The post match for players will be made more fluid,” Mauresmo concluded.