World number two Halep set for nose surgery


Melbourne (AFP)

World number two Simona Halep revealed Sunday she needs nose surgery and will be out of action until at least March, missing Romania's Fed Cup tie next week.

Halep was sensationally bundled out of the Australian Open in the first round last week and revealed she had been struggling with nose, ear and stomach infections.

"The last six weeks have been extremely difficult for me, as I've been dealing with infections in my stomach, nose and ear," she said on her official Facebook page.

"This has been one of my most frustrating periods, as I’ve not been able to train or stay healthy even though I’ve constantly been on antibiotics to help clear the infections.

"I gave it my best shot in Australia but, with the infections still in my body, unfortunately I made things worse, as I pushed myself to compete and fight in a Grand Slam.

"Under doctors advice, I will undergo surgery to fix the ongoing problem with my nose -- and I’ve been advised that this is my best option and success is highly likely."

Her loss at Melbourne Park to Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai was a huge setback for Halep, who is enjoying her highest ever ranking after a stellar 2015 in which she won titles at Shenzhen, Dubai and Indian Wells.

She said she hoped to be back to defend her Indian Wells title in March but will miss Romania's Fed Cup tie against the Czech Republic.

"It comes with great sadness that I’m announcing that I will need to miss our upcoming Fed Cup tie next week, as I will be undergoing surgery this week," she said.

"I'm hopeful that I will have recovered in time to have a chance to defend my title in Indian Wells.

"But I will take it slowly and make sure that I am back to full health before resuming training and competition."

Halep said she had also withdrawn from her title defence in Dubai next month, as well as the Qatar Open.