Organisers of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships have announced defending champion Simona Halep has withdrawn from the tournament

Halep, who was due to compete in Dubai for the eighth time, was looking forward to defending her title but has withdrawn with a lower back complaint.

Halep said:

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. 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.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, wished Halep well in her recovery.

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.

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