The goal of returning to Singapore is inspiring Simona Halep every day, and with one of the best hardcourt records on the tour this year, can she qualify this summer?
WTA Staff

SINGAPORE - Last week, Simona Halep headed to Singapore to help with some very special news for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global - the first Singapore Tennis Evening at Marina Bay Sands gala, which will feature Paloma Faith, and Advantage Singapore, the fan-friendly experiences designed to share the excitement of Asia's biggest tennis festival with fans island-wide.

She also answered questions, and reminded us how motivated she is to play there again this year.

"I fight every day for Singapore," Halep said. "At the beginning of this year I said my goal was to be back here. This tournament is really important to me - it's one of the most important tournaments of the year. Only the best eight players make it, and every match feels like a final. From the beginning of the tournament to the end, you have really tough matches. And I really want to come back again."

Halep had a breakthrough week in Singapore last year, highlighted by a round robin win over Serena Williams, which made her the first Romanian in WTA history to beat a reigning World No.1. She ended up making it all the way to the final, as well, before succumbing to an extra-motivated Williams.

"This city means a lot to me. It was my first time playing the WTA Finals, and to play Serena in the final was just amazing. The whole week gave me even more confidence that I could be a top player.

"And the fans in Singapore were just amazing. I think they were some of the best fans I've ever had. I really felt like I was at home here. Maybe this year if I play again it'll be even better. The fans really help me compete at my highest level on the court. I did everything I could last year to win every match."

Also during the presentation, two adorable young fans came on stage and asked Halep questions, the first one about how the World No.3 is so competitive among top players who are taller than she is.

"It's not a bad thing if you're smaller - we're very fast on court and can move faster than the tall girls," she said. "We can also stay low and reach some balls others can't. You just have to improve your running, your legs and muscles, and be fit all the time. It's very important not to get injured."

The second fan asked if she could be like Halep. "Yes, I'm pretty sure one day you'll be like me!" she replied. "I'm really glad you want to be like me. I wish you good luck. Just believe in your dream!

"When I see that kids want to be like me, it gives me more power to be better every day."

Halep is closing in on Singapore - she's currently No.3 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, the journey to the WTA Finals. With Williams already qualified, she trails only Maria Sharapova in the race for the next qualification announcement, and she's more than 800 points ahead of No.4.

With three hardcourt titles this year, at Shenzhen, Dubai and Indian Wells, and a 24-3 record on the surface, she's got to be a favorite wherever she plays in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.

Halep is scheduled to play Toronto, Cincinnati and New Haven before the big one, the US Open.