Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has contracted a virus that prevents her from eating and for which she will receive treatment at an Italian clinic at the end of this summer’s championship, she has said.
The 31-year-old Frenchwoman had been invited to play in the ladies’ invitation doubles – an exhibition contest – by Wimbledon’s organisers.
However, the All England Club issued a statement on Tuesday that said Bartoli was being replaced for “medical” reasons by another former player, Briton Melanie South.
Bartoli, who is working at Wimbledon for television channel Fox Asia, would not comment on Wednesday on the reasons for her replacement.
Her weight loss since retiring from professional tennis has attracted comment. She has previously said she is returning to her natural shape.
In an interview with Paris Match, published this week, she said she was ill and would be hospitalised after Wimbledon.
“I have a virus that my body is fighting. That’s why I am not able to eat anything. I’m going to have to go to a clinic in Italy at the end of Wimbledon,” she is quoted as saying.
In an interview with the Times last month, she said her weight had dropped from 10st 7lbs to 7st 5lbs since retiring from tennis. She said she had replaced the gym and lifting weights with ballet, yoga and pilates.
She also described her diet: “I’m completely gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, salt-free and everything organic. [I eat] steamed vegetables, salads, cucumbers.”
Bartoli was Wimbledon ladies’ champion in 2013. During that edition of the tournament, BBC broadcaster John Inverdale was criticised after he asked BBC Radio 5 listeners: “Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little: ‘You’re never going to be a looker?’” He later apologised to her at the champions’ ball.
She announced her retirement from professional tennis 40 days after her Wimbledon victory.
This article was written by Caroline Davies, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 6th July 2016 18.51 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010