Before the sneezing and sniffling set in, the world's No. 2-ranked women's tennis player listed her goals for the year. Top priority: "Just to stay healthy," Simona Halep said without hesitating. Almost as an afterthought, the rising 24-year-old Romanian who was a finalist at the 2014 French Open added that her biggest goal was "to win a Grand Slam."As the 2016 Grand Slam season kicks off Monday at the Australian Open, Halep is hardly alone in her quest to stay off the injured list and win a major. Most of the top 10-ranked women's players started the year with injuries or illness that forced them to retire or withdraw from tournaments in the first weeks of the season. They include: No. 1 Serena Williams (Hopman Cup/left knee), No. 2 Halep (Brisbane/left ankle), No. 3 Garbine Muguruza (Brisbane/ left foot), No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska (Sydney/leg injury), No. 5 Maria Sharapova (Brisbane/ left forearm), and No. 6 Petra Kvitova (Sydney/ stomach virus). "I think tennis is a sport that really beats your body," Williams, a six-time Australian Open winner, said at her pre-tournament news conference on the weekend. "You start at such a young age, train for so many years. You're so consistent with that training for hours and hours a day. Then you do physical training... a lot goes into tennis."Williams starts her tough road to another title on Monday with an opener against Camila Giorgi, the highest ranked of the unseeded players in the women's draw. Williams may have to face former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round and No. 5-ranked Maria Sharapova in a quarterfinal match that would feature last year's finalists. Sharapova enters with her own injury concerns after withdrawing as defending champion from the Brisbane International because of soreness in her left forearm. But the five-time Grand Slam winner says she is now "feeling really good," despite the lack of a warm-up tournament. Halep and Muguruza are on the other half of the draw and start Tuesday, along with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka who is healthy, uninjured and confident after winning her first title since 2013 at the Brisbane International last week.
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