French Open finalist Simona Halep withdraws from Aegon Classic

The Romanian has become the latest person to pull out the tournament, which has been hit by a spate of withdrawals

French Open finalist Simona Halep withdraws from Aegon Classic
Simona Halep in action during the French Open final, which she lost to Jelena Ostapenko (Getty/Ian MacNicol)

World number two Simona Halep has become the latest player to withdraw from the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, following her run to the final at the French Open last week.

Halep, who could have taken the world number one spot from Angelique Kerber (who is still in the draw) in Birmingham, though has pulled out of what was due to be her opening grass tournament of season, with the reason believed to be the right ankle injury that affected her in the Rome final and in the build-up to Roland Garros.

Simona Halep with her runner-up plate after losing the French Open final (Getty/Clive Brunskill)
Simona Halep with her runner-up plate after losing the French Open final (Getty/Clive Brunskill)

The Romanian is not the first big name to pull out today, with world number three Karolina Pliskova out with an elbow injury. The tournament has unfortunately been hit by a spate of injuries, with defending champion Madison Keys, Maria Sharapova, and Agnieszka Radwanska amongst those who have had to pull out.

Halep likely out due to injury that recently troubled her

It was undoubtedly a partially successful French Open for the Romanian, who will be disappointed about her loss to Jelena Ostapenko in the final though had an impressive run to get there, though it seems that the right ankle injury that troubled her in the build up to the second Grand Slam tournament of the year has resurfaced.

The ankle issue developed when the Romanian faced Elina Svitolina in the final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where she twisted it when a break up in the opening set. Though she took the opening set, she eventually lost the match with Svitolina taking the deciding set 6-1, and heading into Roland Garros there were doubts about whether Halep, who was the favorite for the title in Paris, would be able to play.

Simona Halep receives treatment on her right ankle during the Rome final, which she lost to Elina Svitolina (Getty/Michael Steele)
Simona Halep receives treatment on her right ankle during the Rome final, which she lost to Elina Svitolina (Getty/Michael Steele)

The ankle seemingly held up during her seven matches on Paris, though it seems understandable that Halep would not want to risk further damage on what is often considered the toughest change of surface in tennis. Her withdrawal means that Angelique Kerber’s position at number one, which Halep could have taken had she won the French Open final, will be safe until Wimbledon, where both Halep, Karolina Pliskova, and Elina Svitolina will be vying to take the top spot off the out-of-form German.