Pressure? What pressure? I just play: Halep

Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:11am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number three Simona Halep does find it difficult to walk around her home town these days without being asked for a photo, but she shrugged off any expectations or feelings of additional pressure ahead of the Australian Open.

After a superlative 2013 when she won six titles and jumped 36 placings in the rankings to 11th, the 23-year-old cracked the big time in women's tennis in 2014.

She made her first grand slam quarter-final at Melbourne Park before losing to Maria Sharapova in the Roland Garros final.

Halep also made the Wimbledon semi-finals and finished the year losing to Serena Williams in the WTA Finals in Singapore and ranked third.

"Sometimes when I go in the city, it's tough, because everyone is coming to ask for a picture," Halep told reporters on Saturday. "(But) I'm not surprised that I had big results last year because two years ago I just started to win some titles.

"I had more experience than before. I was improving a lot in my game. I'm much stronger now than before. My game is complete now (and) I believe in my game.

"I can say now I feel no pressure. I have just to play my game and to see how ... many matches I can win.

"I have no pressure."   Continued...

Simona Halep of Romania eyes the ball to hit a return to Ana Ivanovic of Serbia during their WTA Finals singles tennis match at the Singapore Indoor Stadium October 24, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su