Svetlana Kuznetsova will not defend her Citi Open title because of visa issues.
Kuznetsova, who is Russian, announced Thursday on Twitter that she is withdrawing from the tennis tournament, which will begin next week in Washington.
“Wanted to apologize to all my fans who were waiting for me there ..Never had issues like this in my life, hopefully one day I can finally get a visa and play at list [sic] some events of the US swing!” wrote Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam champion.
It is unclear whether the 34-year-old will be granted entry into the country in time for next month’s U.S. Open, an event she won in 2004. In an Instagram post from July 13, the Russian said she has been waiting for a U.S. visa since February.
Citi Open organizers were planning to grant Kuznetsova a wild card into the tournament’s main draw and feature her in the draw ceremony Friday afternoon.
“We’re really disappointed,” Citi Open manager Mark Ein said in an interview. “She’s our defending champion, and we were excited to have her back — we were planning to give her one of our wild cards so that she could be in the main draw, and it’s really unfortunate that it was a visa issue that’s preventing her from coming to the States.”
The Women’s Tennis Association did not immediately respond for comment.
Kuznetsova is ranked 108th in the world after injuries over the past two years. Her Citi Open victory last year is the most recent of her 18 WTA titles, which also include the 2009 French Open.
Her withdrawal means neither of the defending champions will play the 51st edition of Washington’s hard-court summer classic. Alexander Zverev of Germany, who won the men’s singles’ tournament, was not scheduled to play.