World No.2 Simona Halep has recovered from COVID-19 and is determined to claim her maiden Australian Open crown.
The Romanian star will open her season against Australian world no.1 Ash Barty in an exhibition match at Adelaide’s A Day at the Drive on Friday night.
Halep won two titles in 2020, which included a 17-match winning streak, but her year on court ended in October after testing positive for coronavirus.
The two-time grand slam winner has no lingering issues with her illness as she only suffered mild symptoms.
Halep had multiple tests on her lungs but was given a clean bill of health.
Unlike some of her touring professionals, Halep has taken a bright outlook into her quarantine stint in Adelaide.
“I am also less stressed because I know that they have COVID so well under control in Australia and that once we are out of quarantine, we will be free,” she told Reuters.
“This year in lockdown has meant that we are all a lot more used to spending time inside than we used to be.”
Heading out of quarantine, Halep is ready for another Melbourne Park assault after a number of near misses.
The 29-year-old lost the 2018 final to Caroline Wozniacki and was bundled out by Garbine Muguruza last year after entering the semi-final as an overwhelming favourite.
Halep will have time to readjust to the Australian Open hardcourts when she takes part in a WTA 500 event at Melbourne Park after her one-off game in Adelaide.
She is coached by renowned Australian mentor Darren Cahill.