Florida [US]: World number two Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Stuttgart Open due to a left hip injury suffered during the recent Fed Cup.
Halep, who competed for her country Romania against France over the weekend in the Fed Cup, missed the end of the 2018 season because of a back issue. However, she was fit to return and went on to reach the last 16 of the Australian Open before reaching the final of Doha and the semi-final of Miami.
The 27-year-old’s start to the clay court season on the WTA Tour has been put on hold for the time being after a tumble playing Caroline Garcia at the weekend, Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) reported on Tuesday.
“It was against Garcia in the first set, when I fell down. I felt pain in the hip. If I’m not 100 percent I don’t want to step on the court. I’m also exhausted mentally because I gave my everything in that tie but unfortunately we couldn’t win,” Halep said.
“That’s why I decided to pull out because I have to think about my health first. It feels bad because I gave everything – I really wanted to win the Fed Cup. I’ve been very sad the last two days. I’ve been through these moments many times, so I know how to handle it. I just need to recover mentally and physically and then just start again.”
“I’m flat emotionally after Fed Cup and physically I have some problems. The hip has to recover quickly for the clay because the game is very physical. But it happens and I’m not going to make a drama out of it,” she said.
Halep is optimistic to return in time to play Madrid and Rome in May.
“I stopped because there’s a two-week break, so it’s enough time to recover. I just want to go home and relax myself,” she said.
The 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza has also pulled out from the tournament after suffering from illness.
Following the withdrawals, Angelique Kerber has moved to number two seed, and as a consequence, Victoria Azarenka will now play against Vera Zvonareva, while Donna Vekic will take on Giulia Gatto-Monticone.