Romanian Simona Halep, world number 3 and defending champion, resigned from the Wimbledon tournament, which begins Monday, due to a left calf injury, organizers reported Friday.
“It is with great sadness that I announce my withdrawal from the championship because I have not fully recovered from my calf injury,” the tennis player said in a statement.
The 29-year-old Romanian has struggled to stay in shape since withdrawing from the second round of the Italian Open in mid-May.
Halep, who until then had never won on grass, became the Wimbledon champion for the first time in her career in July 2019, unexpectedly defeating American Serena Williams.
Last year the English tournament was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Also absent in this edition will be the Spanish Rafael Nadal, who, after “listening” to his body, announced last week his decision not to participate in Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics.
In the women’s draw, Halep’s withdrawal adds to that of Japan’s Naomi Osaka and doubts about the physical condition of the world’s number one, Ashleigh Barty.
This could benefit Williams, who at 39 is looking to reach a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
Halep explained that missing the French Roland Garros tournament this month and now Wimbledon is hard for him on a mental level.
“I did my best to be ready for Wimbledon, and after my good memories of two years ago I was excited and honored to return to these beautiful courts as a champion,” she said.
“Unfortunately, my body did not cooperate and I will have to save this feeling for next year,” he added.
“I can honestly say that I feel very down and disappointed to have to make this decision. This whole period has been difficult, but missing these last two great tournaments makes it even more difficult psychologically and physically, “he said. (AFP)