Simona Halep has admitted defeat in her attempt to be fit for the French Open after withdrawing with a calf injury.
The 2018 Roland Garros champion suffered the tear in her Italian Open match with Angelique Kerber and says the timeline to get ready for the second Grand Slam of the year, which begins on May 30, is too short to recover.
As Halep is one of the tour’s best performers on clay, it makes reigning champion Iga Swiatek the overwhelming favourite to win a second title.
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“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros this year,” said the world number three on social media.
Unfortunately the tear in my left calf needs more time to recover and the timeline is just too short. Withdrawing from a Grand Slam goes against all my instincts and aspirations as an athlete, but it is the right and only decision to make.
“The thought of not being in Paris fills me with sadness, but I will focus my energy on recovery, staying positive and getting back on court as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Roland Garros 2022, I’m coming for you! A bientot!”
Halep had looked in solid but unspectacular form as she built up for the French Open, but it is Swiatek who has been stealing the headlines. The Polish world number nine embarrassed Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Italian Open by beating her 6-0, 6-0 to put herself on the radar of her rivals.
World number one Ashleigh Barty is also a contender, though she is also an injury concern having pulled out of Rome with an arm problem, while Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams have struggled with their clay court season with early defeats in recent tournaments.

Highlights: Halep fends off Swiatek in wonderful three-setter

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