Simona Halep feeling no stress at Australian Open
World number three Simona Halep on Saturday dismissed suggestions that the stress of being dubbed the next-big-thing in women`s tennis would hinder her Australian Open campaign.
Melbourne: World number three Simona Halep on Saturday dismissed suggestions that the stress of being dubbed the next-big-thing in women`s tennis would hinder her Australian Open campaign.
The 23-year-old Romanian enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2014, reaching the French Open final and the semi-finals at Wimbledon to mark herself as a player to watch.
But the women`s game is littered with players who have failed to convert a rapid climb up the rankings into Grand Slam success.
Halep said she could not allow such considerations to pressure her as she seeks to improve on last year`s quarter-final appearance at Melbourne Park.
"I don`t want to think that I have to win this tournament, to be in the semi-finals or quarter-finals," she said.
"I want to take it match by match and am looking forward to starting the tournament, starting the frist match, because it`s going to be a tough match."
Halep, whose idol is six-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin, faces Italy`s Karin Knapp in the opening round.
She displayed some dazzling early-season form this month to win her ninth WTA title at the Shenzhen Open before withdrawing from the Sydney International with a stomach bug.
"I`m feeling good now, almost 100 percent recovered," she said.
"I`ve slept well, I ate well, so I feel prepared to start this tournament."
After working on her serve and forehand in the off-season to complement her prowess on the baseline, Halep said she now felt her game was "complete".
"I`m moving better than before, I`m working hard every day," she said.
Halep said any player in the top 20 was capable of walking away with the title, so her number three ranking meant little when she walked out on court.
"Everyone can win this title, the tournament is open for everyone, I think," she said.