Defending champ Elena Rybakina (illness) withdraws from Indian Wells

Updated:

Defending champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open on Friday afternoon due to illness.

The fourth-seeded Rybakina was set to play her first match of the tournament on Friday night in Indian Wells, Calif., against Nadia Podoroska of Argentina. Kayla Day replaced Rybakina as the lucky loser.

“It is with great sadness I must announce, I will not be able to participate at this years’ Indian Wells tournament due to gastrointestinal issues,” Rybakina said in a statement. “Those close to me know how much this tournament means to me and how much I wanted to come back and defend my title.

“I would like to thank all the fans who come out here to support me and I am sorry they will not get a chance to see me play this year. Now I will rest and recover so I can come out and play and compete for my fans to the best of my abilities once again.”

Rybakina defeated Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the 2023 final at Indian Wells.

The 24-year-old Rybakina is currently ranked No. 4 in the world. She has won seven career titles, including Wimbledon in 2022.