Halep hoping to stay injury-free in Sydney

Simona Halep is hoping her injury problems are behind her as the world number two attempts to build some momentum heading into the Australian Open with success in the Sydney International.

The Romanian pulled out of the Brisbane International due to an Achilles problem, but is set to return to action against Caroline Garcia in Sydney this week.

Halep is targeting the first grand slam of her career this year, but for the time being the top seed is more concerned about ensuring her fitness holds up.

“I just want to have a hard match, a difficult match, to get used to this level. I know it is a very difficult first match of the year but I am okay, I am pretty prepared for this tournament. Mentally I am okay and I hope that physically I will be the same,” she said.

“It’s not easy. I think it’s the most difficult part of the year because you come from home, or somewhere else practising, and then you have to start competition and start the first grand slam of the year.

“But, you know, you have to get used to this. It’s a bit difficult but we’ll go ahead and try to play our best always.

“I am feeling better, much better than in Brisbane. I had some treatment. I had a small break and now I feel much better and I hope to be 100 per cent so I can play.

“I have had good results in Melbourne. I reached the quarter-finals twice in a row, so maybe to reach the quarter-finals again [is a goal]. I know that every match is difficult, so I have to be focused for every one and to try my best always.”

Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza have also been hit by injury ahead of the Australian Open, which gets underway on January 18.

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