13 Jan 2018 - 9:26
Stan Wawrinka feared his debilitating knee injury might be the end of a glittering tennis career boasting three grand slam titles and said he had only been cleared to play the Australian Open two days before the tournament.
13 Jan 2018 - 10:49
Melbourne: Simona Halep goes in search of a first Grand Slam at the Australian Open next week without a sponsor, but happy she'll be able to wear her "lucky" red dress.
The world number one admitted she unusually had "no brand clothes" to wear at Melbourne Park for the first Grand Slam of the year after ending her deal with Adidas last season.
"I have no contract now. Yeah, it's an interesting period, to be honest," said Halep, who confirmed she would wear the same red dress in Australia that she used to win the Shenzhen Open in China a fortnight ago.
The Romanian said she had found the outfit on the internet and hoped it would bring the same results in Australia.
"Yeah, I sent a picture. Was a site, in China actually, and one of my managers helped me, and in 24 hours I had the outfit, and it was perfect. I was lucky."
The Romanian is full of confidence after her dominant victory in Shenzhen, but will need to overcome her sorry record at Melbourne Park where she has lost in the first round in both of the past two years when seeded in the top four.
"I don't feel pressure. I feel OK. I feel fit," said the 26-year-old.
"Every time is tough every match of a Grand Slam. I can say I started the year better. I am more relaxed. I'm enjoying more the time on court."
With Serena Williams out after giving birth to her first child and injury doubts surrounding Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, the tournament could be there for the taking by top-ranked Halep.
But she said she was not looking past her first-round opponent -- Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava.
"I heard that she's a very talented player and young. So is going to be a big challenge," said Halep. "It is not easy to play against an Australian at home.
"We'll see on court what is going to happen. I'm just looking forward to start the tournament and to give the best."