18 Aug, 2021
Simona Halep says she is no longer afraid of coronavirus after getting vaccinated and hopes more players will take the jab.
Halep opted against travelling to New York for the US Open last year due to the pandemic before testing positive for COVID-19 last October.
The two-time grand slam champion missed the French Open and Wimbledon this year with a torn calf muscle, but claimed her first win since May at the Western and Southern on Tuesday, beating Magda Linette 6-4 3-6 6-0.
Former world number one Halep revealed she feels much more comfortable back on the circuit after taking the vaccine.
"I don't feel afraid, because I am vaccinated," The Romanian told reporters. "I feel protected. I am taking care. I wear the mask when many people are around."
Players have faced strict protocols since the tour resumed, with the challenges of staying in biosecure bubbles and playing in empty stadiums last year before restrictions gradually eased.
Stefanos Tsitsipas this week said that he would only take the vaccine if it becomes mandatory to play on the ATP Tour after Novak Djokovic stated he hopes it will not become a requirement to take the jab.
Halep hopes fellow professionals take the vaccine so they do not face such strict protocols.
"I don't like the bubbles," Halep said. "I feel very stressed when I'm in the bubble.
"So if people can vaccinate more and more (it) will be better, because we will not have more restrictions anymore."