October 20, 2018 / 7:56 AM / 25 days ago

Halep remains upbeat after 'best' season despite injury

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Simona Halep is disappointed that a back injury forced her out of the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore but the Romanian world number one will still reflect on 2018 as her best year on the tour after finally claiming a Grand Slam title.

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 7, 2018. Romania's Simona Halep hits a shot during her third round match against Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Halep lost her third straight major final when she fell to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January but the battling base-liner made it fourth time lucky at the French Open in June and will also end the season at the top of the rankings.

“Yes, the best one,” she told reporters in Singapore when asked to sum up her 2018 on Saturday.

“Winning a Grand Slam and finishing number one, I think it’s the most that I could ask for. I had also tough moments, because in Melbourne it was really tough to go over and to come back stronger.

“Also, I’m proud that I could come back stronger and I could make a better result. So I think definitely, actually, is the best year of my career.”

Halep plans to take a break to help the herniated disc that ended her season early fully heal and admitted she would not pick up a racket again until at least December.

“They said that I need a break, around three, four weeks. And with the treatment, physiotherapy, and also exercises, medical exercises, I should be okay,” the 27-year-old added.

“Actually is nothing sure, but what is sure is that I don’t need surgery. So that is a big positive. I will take care of it. I have enough time. If mentally I will be okay and rested, I think it’s going to be better.

“Well, the pain is not that bad when I don’t play. So I have some moments when I get blocked still, but it’s not that bad as I’m playing tennis.”

Halep also believes that world number two Wozniacki is well-placed to defend her WTA Finals title in Singapore, the Romanian saying the conditions are tailor-made for the Dane to succeed.

“Well, it’s tough (too pick a winner), because every match is like a final. Always I said that at this tournament,” Halep said.

“I can say I see some players that have a bigger chance, actually Wozniacki because she won last year and I think the court suits her.

“Petra (Kvitova) has a big chance. (Naomi) Osaka has a big chance. I think everybody has a big chance. You never know. Also the emotions will play a big thing. We will see.

“But I’m not gonna watch, just to tell you. No, not even one minute.”

Editing by John O'Brien

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