“I look back on my 2020 season with pride and a sense of achievement, especially given the circumstances with Covid-19,” said Simona Halep, who contracted the virus in October; the Romanian has enjoyed a long pre-season ahead of the Australian Open
Simona Halep says she is ready to face the prospect of a “mentally-hard” 14 days of quarantine ahead of the Australian Open.
The world No 2 believes the experience of playing at bio-secure tournaments last year will help her get through what she expects to be a tough period.
Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion, had an eventful 2020 season in which she went on an impressive 17-match winning streak, but then skipped the US Open over health fears before then contracting Covid-19.
“I know that it will be hard mentally, but I feel like my experiences in bubbles in 2020 will help me know a little more what to expect,” Halep said, adding she was grateful for the five-hour window to train every day during quarantine.
“I am also less stressed because I know that they have Covid so well under control in Australia and that once we are out of quarantine, we will be free!
“This year in lockdown has meant that we are all a lot more used to spending time inside than we used to be.”
Halep has enjoyed being at home, allowing her body and mind to recover from a stressful year, but now she hopes to get some matches under her belt in a WTA 500 event at Melbourne Park to warm up for the hardcourt Grand Slam.
“I worked a lot on my fitness,” Halep said. “I have to take care of my body now more than ever so lots of strengthening exercises and speed work, and from the beginning of December we really stepped up the work on court.
“Lots of drills and repetition and now finally I am playing sets against other Romanian girls, getting ready for the first matches in Australia.”