Simona Halep is hoping that different preparations in the lead up to the Australian Open will result in a change of fortunes. The Romanian, at number four in the world, has never gone beyond the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, making it her weakest Grand Slam.
Even if the game is not working sometimes. I just have to stay there and to fight.Simona Halep
This year, despite clay being her favourite surface, she is determined to do better in Australia and has changed her preparations accordingly.
She has been in the country since December, training with her coach Darren Cahill, getting used to a very different climate.
She told the WTA official site: “I feel good. I was preparing pretty good during this week. I’m waiting. I’m a little bit nervous, but it’s normal, I’m fit.
“I came earlier to Australia to try to like get used to the heat. In Romania it’s very cold.”
Halep is 11/1 to win the Australian Open this year. Defending champion Angelique Kerber is 7/2 while Johanna Konta, after a good start to 2017 is priced at 18/1.
The decision to arrive early in countries before tournaments began last year and served Halep well as she won the Madrid Open followed by the Rogers Cup.
This year she lost in the second round of the Shenzhen Open to eventual winner Katerina Siniakova and opted against playing at the Apia International in Sydney, choosing instead to practice at Melbourne Park.
The fourth seed in Melbourne, Halep opens up with a tricky match against the American Shelby Rogers and could face Venus Williams in the fourth round.
Of her opening match against Rogers, Halep added: “I’ve played before with a few players that are hitting very strong, so I know how I have to play against them.
“But you never know, it’s going to be a new match, new day. Just going there to fight till the end , even if the game is not working sometimes. I just have to stay there and to fight.”