By Ros Satar, in Stuttgart
- Two-time Porsche Tennis semi-finalist and No. 2 seed Simona Halep withdraws from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
- Roland Garros defending champion looking forward to it, if she can recover in time.
STUTTGART, GERMANY – No. 2 seed Simona Halep puts recovery first as she pulls out of this year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix with a hip injury in a bid to recover ahead of her Roland Garros defence.
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It is always a give-away when an all-access or previously unannounced press conference hits the schedules, so it would have probably been more of a shock had we been told that the No. 2 seed Simona Halep was planning to take the court.
Fed Cup aspirations and commiserations
From the moment Romania reached the semi-final of the modern-day Fed Cup, Halep made no secret of her desire to help her country to its first final, and handled the pressure of being their “guaranteed’ two points, but in truth one of either Irina-Camelia Begu or Mihaela Buzarnescu needed to get a win as well because any doubles team going up against former Slam winners (and indeed former friends) Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic were going to be up against it.
Halep admitted her fall in the first set against Garcia had been at the root of certainly the physical issues this week.
“It was against Garcia in the first set when I fell down. I felt the pain on the hip and I’m not ready. So, if I’m not a hundred percent I don’t want to step on the court. I’m also exhausted mentally because I gave everything for this tie but unfortunately, we couldn’t win. So, that’s why I decided to withdraw because I have to take care of my health first.
“It feels bad because I gave everything, and I really wanted to win this Fed Cup. I was sad, very sad these two days but it’s normal. I’ve been through these moments many times. So, I know how to handle it. But I need just to recover mentally and physically and then to start again.”
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Roland Garros defence
With two week’s grace and much needed downtime on the cards, Halep is still confident she will be ready make the most of being the defending Roland Garros. We have seen the pressure of being a defending champion cause player to crumble – Garbiñe Muguruza declared she could not wait to get the French Open over, so she would not have to field questions from journalists about her first Slam defence.
That being said, Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Halep from a commanding position up in 2017, threw herself into all the defending champion activities seemingly without a care in the world – only to go out in the first match.
So where did Halep fit in this scheme of things?
“I have a better feeling because I am Roland Garros champion (laughs) and I can’t wait to get there to enjoy all the things that I have to do. I said yes to everything (laughs), just to make sure I will never forget the moment.
“But to go back to Paris I think will be the best feeling and I don’t have pressure, anything will happen, it’s just the moment. So, I will not be upset even if I will lose quicker in the tournament, even if I don’t do anything on clay, for me it’s the best period of the year.”
With the super-hero theme of this year’s tournament – Halep had to pause for a moment to come up with her super-power.
“Superpower? It’s tough (laughs). If I can resist four days without doing anything and without thinking of tennis, that’s a superpower. But I don’t know if I’m able to do thatMaybe I will be able to put the racquet away, but I will not be able not to think about the racquet.”
Halep is next scheduled to play in Madrid, which takes place between 5-12 May.
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