'Sorry to hear': Tennis fans saddened by Simona Halep news

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Simona Halep and Serena Williams, pictured here after the Wimbledon final in 2019.
Simona Halep beat Serena Williams to win Wimbledon in 2019. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

There are fresh concerns about Simona Halep's participation at Wimbledon after the World No.3 announced her withdrawal from next week's lead-up tournament in Bad Homburg.

Halep announced her return 10 days ago after accepting a wildcard for Bad Homburg, but now won't play there.

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Organisers of the new grass-court event in Germany tweeted on Saturday that Halep had opted to withdraw because of ongoing calf muscle problems.

"Hopefully I’ll be back here in the future to play," Halep tweeted alongside a video message to her fans.

"I will not compete this week because my calf is not ready for competition," she said.

“I feel bad about that and sad because it’s a beautiful place.

“I will keep practising because I want to be able to play in Wimbledon."

The 29-year-old hasn't played a competitive match since suffering a calf muscle tear last month at the Italian Open, which prompted her to miss the French Open.

If she plays, she will now head to Wimbledon to defend her 2019 title without a proper tune-up match.

The Romanian remains the defending champion at the All England Club after the 2020 edition of Wimbledon was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Halep famously beat Serena Williams in the final in 2019 for her second grand slam title.

Tennis fans were left disappointed after her return from injury was delayed.

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Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon

Wimbledon is already lacking some star power after World No.2 Naomi Osaka announced her withdrawal last week.

Osaka has been taking time away from the court after withdrawing from the French Open for mental health reasons amid a furore around her refusal to fulfil media duties.

Wimbledon is set to begin on June 28 and tournament organisers had been hopeful the Japanese player would take her place in the women's singles draw.

But in a statement on the official Olympics website, her management teams said: "Naomi won't be playing Wimbledon this year. She is taking some personal time with friends and family.

"She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans."

Wimbledon later tweeted: "You'll be greatly missed, @naomiosaka - wishing you all the best at home and the Olympics and hope to welcome you back next year."

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Rafael Nadal also announced that he will not be playing Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics in an attempt to protect his body, thus missing out on his next chance to overtake Roger Federer and secure a men's record 21st grand slam title.

The 35-year-old, who won the last of his two titles at the All England Club in 2010, revealed the news on Twitter.

"Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year's Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo," he wrote.

"It's never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision."

with AAP

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