Simona Halep
“Tomorrow, please keep your fingers crossed for me.” Simona Halep of Romania told the media at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships briefing in Dubai on Sunday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Former world No. 1 Simona Halep is hoping that a Laureus Award on Monday will only swell her confidence levels as she makes her way through the season.

Halep is one of the nominees for ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ award alongside fellow tennis player Angelique Kerber, Simone Biles (gymnastics), Ester Ledecka (skiing), Daniela Ryf (Ironman Triathlon) and Mikaela Shiffrin (Skiing) are the others nominated for the top prize to be presented in Monaco on Monday.

The annual Laureus World Sports Awards celebrated the achievements of most remarkable men and women from the world of sport along with their achievements from the previous calendar year.

“Any award is a great thing. It’s an honour really,” Halep told media at the pre-tournament meet-up held at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, on Sunday.

“Tomorrow, please keep your fingers crossed for me. This award is going to be very important as it’s something different. Like I said, it’s an honour and I hope I can win it. I have tough competitors, so we will see what happens tomorrow,” she smiled.

After posting a third straight top-five season in 2016, Halep went on to touch remarkable form in 2017 and 2018 that included the world No. 1 crown on two separate occasions. She reached the No. 1 ranking for the first time in October 2017 and on the second occasion, she held the top spot for 48 consecutive weeks. The 27-year-old was also the year-end No. 1 in 2017 and 2018.

“Being No. 1 or not doesn’t affect me. The feeling is the same. I didn’t have the pressure before when I was the No. 1. I think I’ve handled it very well. For me, it’s the same thing. It really doesn’t matter at this point of the year but at the end of the year, it does,” she admitted.

Currently ranked No. 3, Halep battled over three sets before going down to Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3, 4-6, 3-6 in the final of the Qatar Open on Saturday. “In the final, I think I had no more energy left in the third set. Even if I had that chance to make 3-2, I didn’t make it. Then I felt like the energy is going even lower. It was tough to handle it,” she said.

“Still that was a great result for me. I will keep it. I will take it,” Halep added.

The Romanian further admitted that it’s tough to keep the consistency curve. “It’s not easy but it’s nice here. When I come here, it’s always a good feeling. Everywhere I win a tournament, I have a good feeling coming back. It’s going to be a good week and the result really doesn’t matter,” she said.

“I have no expectations. I just want to recover because I have some little pains here and there but I’m sure that in two days, I will be better. Hopefully, I can play good tennis even if I don’t have enough time to get used to the courts. If the confidence is high, it’s much better,” Halep added.