Chinese tennis player Zheng Qinwen said her hopes of upsetting the world number one Iga Swiatek on Monday were dashed due to severe stomach cramps at the 2022 French Open.
The 19-year-old who is playing in her first Roland Garros, took the first set off the top seed before conceding a 6-7 (5/7), 6-0, 6-2 defeat in the last-16 match. Zheng had needed a medical timeout to strap her injured right leg early in the second set but she revealed that was the least of her concerns.
"It's just girl things," Zheng said in reference to her menstrual pain.
"The first day is always so tough and then I have to do sport and I always have so much pain in the first day.
"I couldn't go against my nature. I wish I can be a man so that I don't have to suffer from this. It's tough."
This was the first time the world number one had dropped a set since 23 April. Zheng needed a medical timeout in the second set at 0-3 and returned with her right thigh heavily strapped, and quickly dropped the set. Zheng had defeated Simona Halep earlier in the tournament.
"The leg made it tough," added Zheng. "But that compared to the stomach was easy. I cannot play my tennis because the stomach was too much painful.
"I really give my best on court, it's just tough."
Zheng revealed after the match that she was dealing with stomach trouble.
"I got really pained stomach and I try my best, but it's just, in the second and third set, I couldn't, I didn't have power to scream one, "Come on," even and it was really tough," Zheng was quoted as saying by wtatennis.com.
"I want to fight, I really, really want to fight, but I just don't have power and it was really tough. I couldn't show my tennis today in the second and third set, even in the first set, I'm really not happy with my performance.
"The leg was, it was also tough. That compared to the stomach was easy ... If I don't talk about today, I'm happy with my performance all this run. To play against the No. 1 in the world, I feel really I enjoy on the court. If I don't have my stomach, I think I could enjoy more, like to run better and to hit more harder, to give more effort on court.
"It's pity that I couldn't give that what I want to give today. I just want, the next time I play against her, I have perfect shape and go for the next fight," added Zheng.
(With AFP and IANS Inputs)