Wimbledon champion Simona Halep said on Saturday that she will compete at the China Open in Beijing, days after retiring from the Wuhan Open with a back problem. If fully fit, the 28-year-old Romanian will be among the favourites next week in the Chinese capital, where Serena Williams will not play because of a knee issue. Halep, a former world number one, was forced out of the Wuhan third round on Wednesday, saying she had a muscle issue in the lower part of her back. She suffered a herniated disc in Beijing a year ago, bringing an early end to her 2018 season.
"The back is better, is getting better and I'm having treatment every day," said Halep, who plays a qualifier in her Beijing opener. "I had two days off and today I practised. In my opinion, I can play tomorrow." "You never know with the back, every tournament starts with the back (issue) because I had problems since 2008," she added. "So it's normal to have tough periods."
Halep, the Wimbledon holder and 2018 French Open champion, twice finished the year number one in the world. She is now sixth, but said that being top of the rankings was not her primary concern. "My goal is to win Grand Slams and also tournaments," Halep said.