Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, set to kick off on March 6, due to lower back pain.
The defending champion will not be competing, organisers of the tournament announced on Thursday evening.
“Unfortunately I am not feeling 100 per cent in my lower back, and I have made the tough decision to withdraw from the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” wrote Halep in a statement, which she shared on social media.
“I have great memories from winning my 20th WTA title after some really tough matches in Dubai last year so I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to defend my title. Wishing the DDF team and everyone involved a successful tournament and I can’t wait to be back next year,” added the Romanian player.
Halep had been due to compete in Dubai for the eighth time and, having won last year, would have defended her title.
She last month pulled out of the Qatar Open.
“We would have loved to see Simona back in Dubai but we respect her decision to put her health first. We hope she starts to feel better and we see her back on the court again soon,” said Colm McLoughlin, executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
The WTA1000 week kicks off on March 6 and wraps up on March 13. The ATP tournament begins on March 13 with the final set to take place on March 20.