Talking exclusively to Eurosport’s Tennis Legends vodcast, Simona Halep explains how she is handling the coronavirus pandemic as a tennis player and her thoughts on the cancellation of Wimbledon.
Simona Halep: “Well, in Romania it’s pretty bad at the moment. Everything got cancelled and closed down. We have about 2000 cases and there are not so many deaths, but it’s getting a little bit worse, because we have many people coming from Italy and it’s a little bit, yeah, it’s not easy to manage everything for the hospitals. I was preparing myself. One week before they closed everything, I was self-isolating because I got a little scared about the virus and about what I was hearing from China and other countries. It’s not easy and I think it isn’t for anybody. It’s a tough moment because we cannot go out, but let’s accept it, let’s keep our mind positive because it’s the most important thing in these days.
“Anyway, I couldn’t play Indian Wells because I was injured, but I was so sad hearing this news that everything was to get cancelled. Because of this situation so I think we struggle; I have to be honest. We struggle, we miss the tour, I miss the tour. I miss the players and all the people that are involved in all the tournaments. I can take a positive thing from it. I am home since February and I’ve never been home for so long for several years now. And it’s a different life so I have just to accept it and try to enjoy it.”
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SH: “Well, I have 22 days in the house now, I didn’t go out at all. I just kept it very safe because I am a little bit scared about it. And I just want to stay chilled. So, I wake up at around 10 or 11.
“It’s very good to have a lot of sleep. No alarm clock, no schedule so I just wake up. I have a late breakfast and then I do some running here in the complex. Because we are allowed to do it, it’s a private residence.
“Everything is closed but you are able to run outdoors. So, I am doing the running and the training outside, from the bloc. And then in the house I work on my core and my other exercises. So, every day I am working and I feel fit yes.”
SH: “Yeah, I take it positively, because I am now the defending Champion for two years. So, I have to live with that for one more year so that’s a good thing again. I am excited that I will be able to play the first match on Tuesday I think on Center Court. So, I really want to make this experience. It’s going to be great for sure.
SH: “Well, in my opinion it’s going to be longer than July. We hope for US Open but it’s not sure because New York is struggling now. I don’t really know how it’s going to be after being off tournaments for so many months. We’ve never been in this situation so I think it’s going to be new to everybody. And I will struggle for sure. I will struggle to get back to the rhythm.”
SH: “It’s the longest period that I haven’t touched a racket. Not the ball, the racket – since Dubai. And I want to keep it that way for one more month.”
SH: “Well, definitely it’s been the best match of my career, there’s no doubt. Before the match I was only concentrating on my memories from Singapore, when I faced her in the groups. Because in the final… I don’t want to talk about that. I was very focused on making her move and being aggressive because I knew that if I do some steps backwards, I won’t be able to handle her power.
“So, I said: on grass, she’s the favourite because she has experience and she faced those moments many more times than I did. Actually, it was the first time for me. And, mentally I was strong. I said that I had my chances and I have to go for it.”
SH: “It’s just a world problem and I just want to say that it’s safer that everything got cancelled. It’s not a small problem, it’s a huge problem. And we just have to listen to what they say, to stay home and being very safe. Tennis is not everything in my life. Of course, I had so many years where it’s been a priority and it still is. I am doing everything possible to stay fit, to get very fast back to the rhythm when everything is going to start again.
“But no, I prefer to stay home, to wait and see and when everything is safe, I will start travelling again. Though if I am not a 100% safe, I am not going to leave home, so everything that has been decided already it’s perfect for me. Even if I miss the tournaments, it’s better to stay safe and to take these decisions.”
SH: “I know that the worst scenario in my head is that this year is going to be cancelled and yeah I am sure we are going to overcome this period if we listen and stay home safely. But for the moment, yeah, I think it’s going to be longer than July.”
SH: “My longest break was three weeks until this break. So, I don’t really have that feeling/experience knowing how it is after such a long break without playing. So, I don’t know what to expect but the most important thing in my game, in my – let’s say style – are the legs. That’s why I keep running, because I need to keep my muscles activated. So, I feel that if I move well on court, the tennis is going to be okay.”
Simona Halep was speaking exclusively to a special edition of Eurosport’s Tennis Legends vodcast alongside Boris Becker, Mats Wilander and Tommy Haas
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