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Defending champ Simona Halep out of Wimbledon with injury

World No. 3 Simona Halep of Romania sustained a calf injury at the 2021 Italian Open and will miss the Wimbledon 2021, which starts next week in London. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
World No. 3 Simona Halep of Romania sustained a calf injury at the 2021 Italian Open and will miss the Wimbledon 2021, which starts next week in London. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

June 25 (UPI) -- Romania's Simona Halep, the world's No. 3 women's tennis player and defending Wimbledon champion, said Friday she won't be in London to defend her title next week at the prestigious event due to an injury.

Halep sustained a calf injury during a match against Angelique Kerber at the Italian Open in May, leading her to withdraw from the French Open.

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"It is with great sadness that I'm announcing my withdrawal from the [Wimbledon] Championships as my calf injury has not fully recovered," Halep wrote in a post to 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 honored to step back on these beautiful courts as defending champion."

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Halep beat American Serena Williams for the Wimbledon title in 2019, which is the last time the event was held. It was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

The third Grand Slam tournament of the year starts on Monday and runs through July 11 at the All England Club in London.

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"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.

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"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."

Last week, men's former champion Rafael Nadal announced that he's also skipping Wimbledon to recover physically. He also said he won't play in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which begin July 23.

The final Grand Slam of the season, the U.S. Open, will run from Aug. 30 through Sept. 12 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. The tournament announced last week that it's allowing fans to attend this year at 100% capacity.

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