Simona Halep is the latest high-profile tennis player to pull out of next month’s Tokyo Olympics. The Romanian is still recovering from a calf injury that forced her to withdraw from her Wimbledon title defense.
In only her second appearance at the quadrennial competition, the 29-year-old Constanta native was slated to be the Romanian flag carrier. Halep competed in the London Olympics in 2012 (losing in the first round to Yaroslava Shvedova), but was forced to withdraw from the Rio Olympics four years later due to the Zika virus concern.
Halep said she was disappointed to lose the chance to represent Romania in Tokyo in a statement confirming her withdrawal.
“Nothing makes me more proud than representing Romania, but unfortunately the recovery from my calf injury takes more time and I made the decision to withdraw from the Olympic Games this summer,” she said.
“After the disappointment of missing Roland Garros and Wimbledon… having to skip the Olympics is incredibly hard to swallow, but I’m determined to come back stronger. I will watch and cheer for Romanian athletes from home.”
Nothing brings me more pride than representing Romania, but sadly the recovery from my calf injury requires more time and I have made the decision to withdraw from the Olympic Games this summer. After the disappointment of missing the French Open and Wimbledon… pic.twitter.com/Q6UziyHhpI
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) June 28, 2021
Other notable players who have withdrawn from the Olympics include Rafael Nadal, Dominik Thiem, Denis Shapovalov, and Stan Wawrinka.
So far, Simona Halep’s 2021 season has been a success.
Simona Halep began her 2021 season in Melbourne, where she reached the quarterfinals of the Gippsland Trophy. The Romanian then advanced to the Australian Open’s last eight, where she was defeated by Serena Williams.
She reached the semifinals on the clay in Stuttgart after an early departure in Miami. Halep tore her left calf muscle in her Rome opener against Angelique Kerber after losing in the second round in Madrid.
Unfortunately an ultrasound has revealed that I have a tear in my left calf. I will get an MRI tomorrow to understand the injury in more detail, but at the moment we are unsure of recovery time. I’m so disappointed to end my tournament in Rome like this… pic.twitter.com/Fx58WWg796
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) May 12, 2021
She was unable to compete in Roland Garros, but was scheduled to return in time for the inaugural Hamburg Open. Her recovery took longer than planned, and she had to withdraw from the German event as well as Wimbledon, where she was the defending champion.
In 2019, the former World No. 1 won her second Grand Slam championship by defeating Serena Williams in the final of the grasscourt Major. Her return date is unknown, but she is expected to be back on the court in time for the US Open.