Simona Halep withdrew from the event citing a gastrointestinal illness.
“We’re sorry to receive the news that Simona has had to withdraw from the tournament due to illness and we wish her a speedy recovery in time for the Australian Open,” Alistair MacDonald, the Tournament Director in Sydney, said. “We look forward to welcoming her back to Sydney next year.”
Halep, who lifted the Shenzhen title last week, was due to begin her Sydney campaign with a contest against Karolina Pliskova. She was eventually replaced by lucky loser Nicole Gibbs.
“During the tournament in China I got this problem in my stomach,” said Halep, who, after winning the title in Shenzhen three days ago, mentioned she was feeling a little bit sick before the final.
“I didn’t play for three days. I was waiting until today to see if I was ready to play again, but I feel like I cannot play. It’s tough to play a tournament like this so unfortunately I decided to withdraw.”
However, Halep does not expect this to impact her preparation or participation in the Australian Open.
“You never know with the stomach, but hopefully in two or three days I’ll be ready to play again,” she said. “Right now I just need to think about recovering, then I will worry about matches later.”
The Romanian is the third seed at the tournament, behind Serena Williams and aria Sharapova. As a clear favourite at the event, she will look to play her best and aim for her maiden Grand Slam title.
“I’m confident now,” Halep said. “Last year I did some good results but now it’s another year and another start, and I’ve had a good start, winning in Shenzhen and playing better match by match.”