Halep prioritising Olympics in 2020: ‘I really want a medal’

andrew hendrie:

Reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep says she will be prioritising the Tokyo Olympics ahead of any other event this season.

While declaring that she obviously wants to win another Grand Slam, Halep said she is determined to win an Olympic medal for Romania.

“So my goal for this year is, of course, a Grand Slam, I started to like it, and my priority is the Olympics,” Halep said.

“I really want a medal. Doesn’t matter which one or where, like singles, doubles, mixed. I just want one. I will do everything I can to do that.”

Halep is yet to win a match at the Olympics, losing in the opening round of the 2012 London Games, while she was forced to withdraw from the 2016 Rio Olympics because of the Zika virus.

Simona Halep (PA Images)

The former World No. 1 launched her 2020 season with a victory at the Adelaide International on Tuesday night, beating Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals.

Halep said she was excited to start the season in Adelaide, which is the hometown of her coach Darren Cahill, with whom she has recently reunited with after the pair temporarily split last year so Cahill could spend more time with his family.

Cahill has put Halep through her paces in an intense training block ahead of the Australian Open, with the Romanian saying she is trying to stay relaxed on court.

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Happy to be back in Adelaide ☺️

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“Well, I’m not that relaxed, honestly. Maybe I look like,” Halep said with a smile. “I’m a little bit stressed because I have worked hard in the off-season. Coming here 10 days before, it was a good thing for me. But still now I can say I have bigger expectations from myself. I feel the stress.

“But Darren told me that it’s not about just this month, it’s about the whole year, everything I have done before in the off-season. So I try just to play matches because I need matches, then to relax myself like I did the last two years. I feel like actually last year I’ve been much better with this stuff, and now I’m trying to improve more and more. I need to be relaxed and I need to enjoy more.”

Halep will face the winner of sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka or qualifier Bernarda Pera in the quarter-finals on Thursday.