Wimbledon claims another victim as Anna Kalinskaya retires versus Elena Rybakina

The start of the Rybakina versus Kalinskaya match was not the same as the ending.
Anna Kalinskaya at Wimbledon 2024
Anna Kalinskaya at Wimbledon 2024 / Julian Finney/GettyImages

There should be little doubt that Elena Rybakina is now the clear favorite to win Wimbledon on the ladies' side. She won the event only two years ago, and her game is tailor-made for grass courts. She is an overpowering serve with immense groundstrokes. The Grand Slam is hers to lose.

Only her fourth-round match against Anna Kalinskaya did not begin that way. The Russian got an early break off the Kazakh, and Kalinskaya looked full of confidence and was striking the ball well. Tennis fans could not be sure who might still win the match, but we certainly appeared on the verge of seeing a classic.

Then Rybakina's form picked up and she reeled off eight straight games to take a commanding lead in the second set after taking the first. The issue for Kalinskaya was not that she suddenly began to play poorly overall, but she began to feel a great deal of pain. What was unclear was exactly where from.

Anna Kalinskaya latest injured player forced to retire during Wimbledon match

Unlike Grigor Dimitrov and Madison Keys, both of whom injured their legs on Sunday at Wimbledon, the Russian was dealing with either a neck, shoulder, arm, or wrist problem. During her on-court post-match comments, Rybakina specifically mentioned Kalinskaya's wrist so maybe the Kazakh's injury was well-known before the match.

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The final turned out to be 6-3 3-0 in favor of Rybakina, but the problem for the grass-court major is that so many players have been forced to retire midway through the tournament. Sure, majors can take a toll on one's body as they last longer - and for the men, there are more sets per match - but we are just now halfway through Wimbledon.

Instead of the problem lying with the Grand Slam, perhaps all the injuries are another indication that tennis' schedule is too messed up. Players are forced to play more to keep rankings and that will likely lead to even more injuries. If tennis did decide to change how many tournaments it has and when they are held, perhaps tennis fans would be able to enjoy Wimbledon more because players would not be dropping like flies.

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