World no.2 Simona Halep says she is ready to start again after her shock French Open defeat to Jelena Ostapenko last month.
The Romanian was the favourite to win at Roland Garros, but the 20-year-old Ostapenko from Latvia caused a huge upset. But with Wimbledon and before that, Eastbourne Halep says she is ready to ‘start again.’
Halep has never played at Eastbourne before but with a stellar female line-up, this year’s event promises to be one of the best ones yet.
But, speaking at her press conference yesterday, Halep said: “I’m relaxed. I’m ready to start again. Still sad, but it’s normal. I still have, before going to sleep, some thoughts about that final, but it’s good and keeps me, like, on the toes, how you say it.”
The French Open final loss was certainly a shock for Halep. Going in she was the overwhelming favourite heading in, and after a superb clay season many thought the 25-year-old would claim her first Grand Slam title.
Asked whether she still thinks about the match, Halep said: “Yeah, I can say I’m affected because I was very, very close this time.”Embed from Getty Images
But with Eastbourne being Halep’s immediate concern, the world no.2 said she is looking forward to the challenge.
“I asked for a wildcard, and I really thank the tournament director for giving me. It’s a nice challenge, I can say, nice like I have just to go and play,” said Halep.
“I know that it’s going to be tough on grass for the first matches, but I’m here just to give everything I have and trying to win matches, if it’s possible,” said the Romanian.
Halep is up for the challenge of potentially being no.1
This week in Eastbourne could be a pivotal one as Halep looks to take the no.1 spot from Angelique Kerber. The German has struggled this year with the pressure of being the world’s best, but it seems Halep will relish the challenge.
“Well, before the final I was thinking no.1 was my next goal, let’s say. Yeah, now that I’m so close, it’s like it’s coming more into my mind and into my soul,” said Halep.
The world no. 2 continued, saying: “I really want to get there. But I’m close but still far. So I have just to take match by match and to do everything I can to be No. 1. It’s going to be a big thing for me.”
If you ask Kerber being no.1 has been difficult and the 28-year-old German admitted on Monday that finding that extra motivation has been tough.
But Halep said: “In this moment I say that there is no reason to have pressure, because you reach your goal and then you have to relax and to play better. But you never know. I have no idea, so first I have to get there, and then I will tell you.”
Image credits – Getty Images – Tim Clayton