Aryna Sabalenka makes a startling confession

Sabalenka is not 100% and appears to be struggling to deal with her physical shortcomings as she enters Wimbledon
Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Aryna Sabalenka has suffered from the mental and physical grind of the 2024 tennis season. The high point was defending her Australian Open title, but beyond that, she has put on a smile but has been suffering.

The Miami Open is when she had to deal with the suicide of her ex-boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov while trying to prepare for the tournament. At the French Open, she fought through physical illness to the best of her abilities but still lost to Mirra Andreeva in the quarterfinals. We have also seen visits from the physio at matches for upper body issues, and for the first time in her career, Sabalenka was forced to retire during a match in Berlin because of a shoulder problem.

She lost her World No. 2 ranking to Coco Gauff along the way. Somehow the happy Sabalenka shines through on video and social media so we tend to think all is well, but she recently admitted that is not the case.

What Sabalenka said

Sabalenka called her shoulder injury a rare one for a tennis player. She thinks only a few tennis players have ever had it. It is her teres major, a muscle in the shoulder joint responsible for extending and rotating the arm.

As a result, her serve is very painful for her. She received treatments and rehab but thus far it does not seem to have eliminated the problem.

Wimbledon 2024: Everything you need to know. Wimbledon 2024: Everything you need to know. dark. Next

She indicated that if it persisted, it could curtail her play at Wimbledon. Sabalenka is skipping the Paris Olympics, but that does not necessarily mean she plans to rest. The hardcourt season will be underway during the Olympics. The Mubadala Citi Open in Washington, DC is becoming the stomping grounds for the players who chose to skip the Olympics. Even though Sabalenka's best friends Paula Badosa and Ons Jabeur are playing in DC, Sabalenka has not committed yet.

Sabalenka is taking things day by day, but given the power she exerts on her serve, it is difficult to imagine that the injury is going to significantly improve while she is playing an active WTA tour schedule. She does not want to fall further down in the rankings, but she may have a difficult decision to make if her injury and pain persist.

Read more on Lob and Smash