The second match of Simona Halep's tennis comeback will have to wait. The two-time Mutua Madrid Open champion had been expected to play at the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open this coming week as a wild card, but was not in the draw when it was made Sunday.

Halep later took to social media to issue a statement on her withdrawal from the tournament, saying that her "body needs a little more time to be ready" before returning to the tour again. The former world No. 1 previously played her first match since the 2022 US Open, the tournament at which her postiive test for the banned substance roxadustat kicked off a nearly two-year fight to clear her name, at the Miami Open in March, where she lost in the first round to Paula Badosa.

"[It's] tough because I want to be back on tour asap, but experience tells me not to rush," the former No. 1 added in her post. "Thank you to [the tournament] who offered me the wild card and to my fans."


Halep had also previously been expected to play at the WTA 125 event in Oeiras, Portugal, this week, but withdrew from that event due to a knee injury.

The Romanian, now 32 years old, made no bones about the physical work she needed to do to be competitive on tour after 18 months on the sidelines following the match she played against Badosa. The two-time major-winner was awarded a wild card to the WTA 1000 event just two days after her four-year ban from tennis was officially reduced to nine months on March 5, as a result of her February appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"Here I came just because the boost, the love for tennis, just brought me here," Halep said in Miami. "It was fast because it was just few days after the decision, but I'm really happy that I did it. I came here and I felt again the love for sport.

"Saying about goals and plans in the future, it's too early. ... I will need to practice harder because the level is very high these days."