Katie Boulter despatched a ripple of bemusement through Roland Garros on Friday with out hitting a ball, while she revealed the day after leaving her call within the draw that she became withdrawing from the event to rest her injured returned.
The British No three and world No 112 will acquire about £20,000 – half of the primary-spherical prize money – despite the fact that she indicated almost 3 weeks in the past that the harm she exacerbated in supporting brilliant Britain beat Kazakhstan in the Federation Cup in London remaining month was now not recuperation quickly sufficient for her to be match for the French Open.
She has dealt with the situation clumsily, at fine, even though she should argue she has earned the proper to come to a decision her intentions on the last minute due to her progressed shape this season. As she says on Twitter, she is, “touring the arena to hit a fluffy yellow issue”. It’s miles her residing.
Her late withdrawal, however, has fee the Swiss participant Stefanie Vöegele an area in the tournament and a guaranteed loser’s fee of approximately £forty,000. Vöegele lost in the first round of qualifying but, because of her rating, was at the top of the queue as a alternative. Rather, the spot is going to a lucky loser. That is the lottery of current tennis.
After operating out in Roehampton on Thursday, Boulter got here right here on Friday and, either via embarrassment or expediency, selected to reserve her views for social media in preference to undergo the scrutiny of a press conference.
“So upset to have to drag out of the French Open,” she tweeted. “i used to be nevertheless hoping to have a danger of competing however medical doctors have recommended me no longer to take a danger with my returned. Can’t wait to get again on court docket soon.”
Rushing beyond waiting reporters, she scooted off to look at Katie Swan soldier thru to the stop of qualifying, but her Fed Cup teammate could not reach the very last backhand winner down the road from the Slovakian Kristina Kucova, who received 6-4, 7-5 after an hour and 39 mins within the third and last spherical. Swan, for her week’s work, earned approximately £1,000 more than Boulter.
All of which leaves Johanna Konta as Britain’s sole consultant inside the ladies’s tournament, in which, if she can overcome the Parisian blues that have struck within the first spherical four instances in a row, she is scheduled for a rematch inside the final 32 with the fourth seed Kiki Bertens, whom she beat to attain the Rome final closing weekend, whilst she misplaced to the world No 2 Karolina Pliskova. Konta has the luxury of a qualifier in the first round.
Outsiders, although, have given her serial grief at Roland Garros on account that 2015, whilst fighters with a mixed rating of 350 stopped her accomplishing the second one round. Nonetheless, her recent clay form has been a revelation; in an open field, the arena No 26 ought to surprise some people.
Simona Halep, who defends her identify with a third seeding that puts her within the identical region as Petra Kvitova, is geared up for a stable first-round test against the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, who placed a 129mph serve at the Romanian while dropping in three aggressive sets in Cincinnati ultimate 12 months.
“It’s going to be different because it’s clay courtroom,” the champion said of that win on a hard court docket, “however nonetheless, it’s going to be a totally difficult fit. She’s powerful. She hits the ball sturdy.”
Halep, whose motivation and moods have oscillated within the past, cut up together with her Australian teach Darren Cahill past due remaining year and appears far extra settled and mature. “I play tennis because i really like playing tennis,” she said, “and that i’m right here because i like the existence of an athlete. I really like to make friends. I love to spend time with humans. Now I see things otherwise, so I find out a distinctive lifestyles on tour.”
Naomi Osaka, too, has been looking for contentment considering triumphing two majors on the spin, in big apple and Melbourne, and has no longer given off the identical cozy air of mystery for the reason that. The world number one, who starts offevolved her quest for a hat-trick with what should be a win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, stated on Friday: “certainly, I experience like I should be an all-court participant. Surely, it’s been a piece of a trip seeking to determine out the way to play higher on clay for the duration of these years. But I think this year i’ve been playing properly.”
She remains comfortingly guileless, gazing: “I haven’t gained Wimbledon yet both. It might be absolutely cool to win the whole thing in one year.”