Wimbledon 2021: Defending champion Simona Halep pulls out due to injury

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Defending champion Simona Halep has pulled out of Wimbledon with a calf injury.

The Romanian, who produced a stunning display to defeat Serena Williams in the final two years ago, tore her left calf muscle during a match in Rome in May and was forced to miss the French Open.

Halep had looked set to be fit for Wimbledon and travelled to London earlier this week but has reluctantly decided she is not able to compete.

The 29-year-old said on wimbledon.com: “It is with great sadness that I’m announcing my withdrawal from the championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered.”

Halep won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2018 and had been thought of as a player most likely to thrive on slower surfaces prior to her brilliant run at the All England Club two years ago.

She said: “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.”

World No 3 Halep is the latest big name to withdraw from this year’s championships, joining Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem. She will be replaced as second seed by Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

“I can honestly say that I’m really down and upset about having to take this decision,” continued Halep. “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. Thank you to everyone at Wimbledon for your understanding and support.”

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