Australia

World number two Sabalenka tests positive to COVID-19, pulls out of Indian Wells WTA tournament

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Women’s world number two Aryna Sabalenka says she will not play at the prestigious Indian Wells tournament after testing positive to COVID-19.

Sabalenka was the top seed in the women’s draw at Indian Wells after Australia’s world number one Ash Barty pulled out of the WTA 1000 event in California, which begins on October 6 (local time).

“Unfortunately I’ve tested positive at Indian Wells and won’t be able to compete,” Sabalenka wrote on Instagram.

“I’ve started my isolation and I’ll be staying here until I’m cleared by the doctors and health officials.

“So far I’m looking OK but really sad to not be able to play this year.”

Sabalenka did not say whether she has received a COVID-19 vaccination.

Earlier this year at the Miami Open, she said she did not “really trust” the vaccine and would “really think twice” before deciding on whether to get the shot.

Sabalenka’s absence is another blow for the tournament, which features both women’s and men’s draws.

Aside from Barty’s withdrawal, Naomi Osaka has pulled out, while men’s world number one Novak Djokovic is also not competing.

Sabalenka has already qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals — contested by the world’s top eight singles players — which will be held next month in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Belarusian reached her career-high world ranking of two in August.

She lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in the US Open semi-finals last month.

Sabalenka has won two tournaments this year, courtesy of victories in Abu Dhabi and Madrid.

Reuters/ABC

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