World No 1 Simona Halep feels fit heading into new season, says injury-marred 2018 was very scary

Agence France-Presse
Simona Halep won five games in a row in the deciding set of an astonishing match against Elina Svitolina in Doha on Friday to power through to the Qatar Open final

Sydney: World number one Simona Halep admitted a back injury that ended her 2018 season early was "very scary", but she has recovered and is feeling fit heading into the new season.

The Romanian hasn't played since withdrawing from the WTA Finals in Singapore in October with a herniated disc, and said she did nothing for six weeks to get over it.

"It was very scary because it was below the back, so it's always dangerous. But I had treatment at home, I rested for about six weeks and I did nothing, just exercises for the back," she told reporters ahead of the Sydney International this week.

"I didn't have pain while I was practising this period, off-season. So now I feel confident and it's okay. But I need to see during the official match.

"I feel relaxed, I feel rested, I feel healthy with the back. But as I said, I didn't play a match yet so I don't know for sure how it's going to be."

The early finish to 2018 was a disappointing end to a spectacular season, which saw the 27-year-old secure the year-end number one ranking for the second year running.

She got off to a stellar start, reaching the Australian Open final and went on to win the Shenzhen Open, the Rogers Cup and her debut Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros.

But it was also a year in which she split with Australian coach Darren Cahill, who is taking a break to spend time with his family.

She is yet to replace him and doesn't plan to do so for at least the next few months.

"(Cahill) was a very big part of my career and I want to thank him for that. Together we won the Grand Slam that we always wished for," she said.

"It's going to be tough. And it was tough, the off-season, without a coach, without Darren. But he decided this and I fully understood because family comes first always."

Halep has a bye in the first round at Sydney.

Also See: Qatar Open: Novak Djokovic says tennis needs Rafael Nadal as injury-plagued Spaniard withdraws from Brisbane International

Hopman Cup: Serena Williams completes clean sweep with straight-sets victory over Britain's Katie Boulter

Qatar Open: Frustrated after defeat in semi-finals, Novak Djokovic insists goal is to win Australian Open title

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