At least I'll be referred to as reigning Wimbledon champion for two years: Halep

Proud possession
Simona Halep poses with the winner's shield after beating Serena Williams in the 2019 final. File photo: Reuters
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Simona Halep is trying to look on the bright side regarding the suspension of the tennis season due to the coronavirus pandemic, which means at least she will be referred to as reigning Wimbledon champion for two years.

The Romanian former world No. 1 produced a flawless performance to beat Serena Williams in last year's final but last week's cancellation of the grasscourt Grand Slam means she will not get to defend her title this summer.

Halep, 28, is currently back in her native Romania where she has been locked down at home for 22 days, only popping out briefly to jog around the grounds of her residence.

Asked about the Wimbledon cancellation, announced on Wednesday, Halep told Eurosport's Tennis Legends vodcast: "I take it positively, because I am now the defending champion for two years. So, I have to live with that for one more year so that's a good thing again.

"I am excited that I will be able to play the first match on (the) Tuesday I think on Centre Court. So, I really want to make this experience. It's going to be great for sure."

The WTA Tour and ATP Tour have been shut down until the middle of July, at least, but Halep is geared up for a longer suspension of the season, possibly the whole year.

"I know that the worst scenario in my head is that this year is going to be cancelled and, yeah, I'm sure we're going to overcome this period if we listen and stay home safely," she said.

"For the moment, I think it's going to be longer than July. We hope for the US Open (scheduled for August 31 to September 13) but it's not sure because New York is struggling now."
After so many years jet-setting around the globe, Halep said the enforced time off from the Tour had been welcome in some respects, even if the circumstances were dreadful.

"It's the longest period that I haven't touched a racket. Not the ball, the racket -- since Dubai," she said. "And I want to keep it that way for one more month.

"I just kept it very safe because I am a little bit scared about it. And I just want to stay chilled. I wake up at around 10 or 11. It's very good to have a lot of sleep.

"No alarm clock, no schedule, so I just wake up. I have a late breakfast and then I do some running here in the complex. Because we are allowed to do it, it's a private residence.

"In the house I work on my core and my other exercises. So, every day I am working and I feel fit yes."

Halep said that while she missed her job, it was right that sport had faded into the background at a time of global crisis.

"It's just a world problem and I just want to say that it's safer that everything got cancelled. It's not a small problem, it's a huge problem. And we just have to listen to what they say, to stay home and being very safe," she said.

"Tennis is not everything in my life."

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