World number two Simona Halep has confirmed that she will play in the Apia International in Sydney this week after recovering from an Achilles injury.
Halep was forced to pull out of the Brisbane International last week due to the injury, but the 24-year-old revealed that she has been practising for the past couple of days and is now ready to get her 2016 season underway.
“I'm feeling much better than I did in Brisbane,” Halep said on the All Access Hour on Sunday. “It's difficult to treat an Achilles problem – it's the toughest part, I think – but I've practiced a few days in a row now, almost full practices, and I did some points, so I'm feeling ready to start this tournament.
“I don't feel pain anymore, but I want to see how it will be during an official match.”
The injury troubled Halep during the 2015 season, but the Romanian said that there is no need for her to go under the knife as MRI scans have cleared her of serious injury.
“We haven't spoken about surgery, and the MRI is okay, so there's nothing dangerous there,” she said. “There's just inflammation. But I want to be positive about it and not be scared when I go on the court.”
Halep, who won three titles last season, received a bye in the first round of the Apia International and will face France’s Caroline Garcia for the first time in the second round on Tuesday.
However, while Halep is regarded as the favourite heading into the match, she said she would not underestimate Garcia as the 22-year-old beat world number six Petra Kvitova once and world number 16 Ana Ivanovic on three occasions in 2015.
“I know it's going to be a difficult match, but I really want to have some matches before Melbourne,” Halep said. “For me every tournament is important. I will do everything I can in this tournament, and then I will think about Melbourne afterwards.”