STUTTGART, Germany – WTA World No.2 Simona Halep has been forced to withdraw from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix due to a left hip injury.
The Romanian, who competed for her country against France over the weekend in the Fed Cup, playing three rubbers, missed the end of the 2018 season because of a back problem.
She was fit enough, however, to return at the beginning of 2019 and reached the last 16 of the Australian Open before going on to reach the final of Doha and the semifinals of Miami.
Her start to the clay court season on the WTA Tour, however, has been put on hold for the time being after a tumble playing Caroline Garcia at the weekend.
“It was against Garcia in the first set, when I fell down,” she explained. “I felt pain in the hip.
“If I’m not 100% 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.
“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.”
The 27-year-old admitted that it is vital to her success over the coming weeks that her injury clears rapidly.
“I’m flat emotionally after Fed Cup and physically I have some problems,” she said. “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.”
Halep is confident, however, that the repercussions will not be long lasting and is optimistic that she will be back in time to play Madrid and Rome during 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.
Garbiñe Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, has also been forced to withdraw from Stuttgart, with the Spaniard suffering from illness.
As a consequence of these withdrawals, Angelique Kerber has moved into the No.2 seed position, meaning that Victoria Azarenka will now face lucky loser Vera Zvonareva and Donna Vekic will tackle Giulia Gatto-Monticone.