Wimbledon 2021: Defending champion Simona Halep withdraws due to injury

Defending champion Simona Halep has pulled out of Wimbledon, after failing to recover from a calf injury she suffered last month.

In May, the world No. 3 Romanian exited the claycourt event in Rome, after suffering a calf injury during her second-round match against Angelique Kerber and was subsequently forced to miss the French Open.

"It is with great sadness that I'm announcing my withdrawal from The Championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered," the 29-year-old, who won the title when Wimbledon was last held in 2019, said on Instagram.

"I gave it everything I had in order to be ready to play Wimbledon and after having such special memories from two years ago, I was excited and honoured to step back on these beautiful courts as defending champion.

"Unfortunately, my body didn't cooperate and I'll have to save that feeling for next year."

Halep was denied a chance to defend her title when Wimbledon was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She joins world No. 2 Naomi Osaka in withdrawing from the grasscourt Grand Slam with the Japanese also skipping Wimbledon, following her withdrawal from Roland Garros due to mental health issues.

In their absence, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka will climb up to be the No. 2 seed behind top-ranked Australian Ash Barty with the singles draw for both men and women to be held later on Saturday (NZ time).

"I can honestly say that I'm really down and upset about having to take this decision," Halep added. "This period has been difficult but to miss the last two majors has made it even more challenging mentally and physically.

"We will see what the future holds but I'm hoping it will make me a stronger person and athlete."


Tune in into Three or ThreeNow for free-to-air coverage of Wimbledon from Monday, June 28