By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Simona Halep admitted she was sad to have lost but that she gave it everything
  • In her mind she was ready, but the epic matches took their toll
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – It was a tough loss for Simona Halep to lose a third Grand Slam final but there were plenty of positives to take away from the Australian Open.

 

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There are times when it is hard to go into a press conference, especally after a championship loss and face a player who gave their utmost, and we have done it for two matches in a row. First we saw Angelique Kerber come undone in an epic semi-final, losing out to Simona Halep. Then Halep gave it her all and was just edged in a turn of momentum at the end of an enthralling final.

Simona Halep in the final of the Australian Open, 2018 | / (PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

The first question in these circumstances is always the hardest, to ask post-match how it feels to be on the receiving end of a plate and not a trophy.

“I can still smile. It’s fine. I cried, but now I’m smiling. Is just a tennis match in the end. But, yeah, I’m really sad I couldn’t win it. I was close again, but the gas was over in the end. She was better. She was fresher. She had actually more energy in the end.”

It is hardly surprising she was tired. The mental and physical anguish from the turned ankle in her first match, having come into the tournament as one of the undoubted favourites, she admitted that if someone had told her two weeks ago she would be competing until the very last minute.

“No, because was really bad. Was, like, hurting every day. In the practice, I couldn’t practice more than 10, 15 minutes. So every day I just played to feel the ball 15 minutes, and that was it.

“I didn’t believe that I can go through all these matches. But I wanted. Looks like I have enough inside power to fight with everything. So it’s a good thing. This tournament meant a lot for me.”

Simona Halep in the final of the Australian Open, 2018

Simona Halep in the final of the Australian Open, 2018 | (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Halep has always had a gritty game – a born scrambler and a hardy scrapper from the back of the court, she was swinging for the fences with her drive volleys for much of the match – most likely in a bid to try and shorten the points against an adversary who could always get an extra ball back.

“I have set in my mind that I have to be more aggressive. That’s why I’m going to the net. But today my legs were not going, or not fast enough.

“But still I did some points there. She was running very well. She responded very, very well. She does that all the time. A lot of credit to her. But I’m okay with the way I played. Maybe a little bit more energy and a little bit more power, maybe I could have won this match.”

She did reveal that now she will need an MRI to assess the tendons that were damaged, and also for her feet.

She joked: “The tendons, pain. The feet. It’s swollen, my right one. Both of them are dead. That’s why I need break.”

Halep will skip St. Petersburg and is next scheduled to play in Doha.

 

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