WTA Insider David Kane | Simona Halep sat down with press at the Miami Open's All Access Hour ready to put her health issues behind her and get back into the tour grind.
WTA Staff

MIAMI, FL, USA - Simona Halep comes to the Miami Open ready to get back on the treadmill. And that's not just a metaphor for the tour's non-stop grind.

"Yesterday was the first day after two months that I was on the treadmill, so I'm really happy," a spirited Halep told press during All-Access Hour. "I can train hard; I already played two hours today with no pain.

"I'm happy about that and I'm much better than last week."

The Romanian has struggled with health issues at the start of her last two seasons, and feels the experience will ultimately prove beneficial - especially as the year wears on.

"I've learned that I have to protect my body more to prevent injuries, and do certain exercises for that. After having to do them every day, I'm already sick of them, but I have to keep doing them. It's a routine, and routine is hard to maintain at this level, but if it helps me, I won't stop."

The former No.2 is nonetheless eager to get into her Miami routine; the former semifinalist has good memories of the last big hardcourt event before the clay swing starts.

"I don't remember my first time in Miami, maybe five-six years ago. I like the weather; it's perfect here. I like to be here; it's a great tournament. Everyone is here, boys and girls, so it's good that it's mixed.

"I enjoy my time, and I'm enjoying it even more because I'm healthy and I can play. I'm just trying my best every moment."

Simona Halep

Halep is set to rejoin a tour that has already seen some seismic shifts, and has tried to keep up with the latest impact players during her time off.

"I'm watching matches when I'm in the room and have nothing to do, when I've finished my work on the courts. I like watching tennis, but I can't say I get into it too much; I just watch for fun."

Most striking for the Romanian has been Elena Vesnina's stunning run to the BNP Paribas Open title, an achievement that has helped her reassess her own opinions on how long she plans to keep playing.

"Elena played really good and she's a great player. She's won Grand Slams in doubles, so she's right there. She's also over 30, so the players at that age are playing much better than before. So I still have some time, no?

"For the last year, I've started to think that I have many years ahead. That makes me feel more relaxed, but I'm trying to take it easy. At the beginning of my career, I'd say 28, last year I said 30. Now I'm thinking more like 32."

Halep may be putting off a drive into the sunset, but she's already settled on her vehicle of choice, becoming the new Romanian ambassador for Mercedes Benz

"I have weird passions. I love watches and cars. Maybe that's a little bit weird, but I love cars, and I'm really happy with this partnership."

She begins her tournament against Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka; the pair last played at the French Open, where the No.3 seed won in three sets.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.