- 24 Aug 2019
Darren Cahill says Simona Halep can take her game to another level and has backed the two-time grand slam champion to mount a strong challenge for a maiden US Open title.
Halep doubled her tally of major triumphs by demolishing Serena Williams with an imperious performance to win Wimbledon for the first time last month.
The 2018 French Open champion has suffered first-round defeats at Flushing Meadows in each of the past two years but is among the leading contenders to win the final grand slam of the year.
Cahill, the world number four’s former coach who still spends time working with the amiable Romanian, says there is more to come from Halep.
“I think Simona can get better, absolutely, and she has a great chance at Flushing Meadows,” Cahill, who will work as a commentator for ESPN at the US Open, told Omnisport.
“She’s only 27 and, as we’ve seen over this generation in both the men’s and the women’s game, a lot of the players are playing their very best tennis in their early 30s, so age is not really a problem for her.
“She’s been one of the most hungry tennis players I’ve ever met, which is part of the reason I decided to work with her when she asked four years ago.
“I could see in her eyes that desire to be as good as she could possibly be and her work ethic is second to none. She dedicates herself 100 per cent to her tennis, that comes before everything else, and that’s part of the reason she’s been as successful as she has.
“Winning a couple of majors has been great for her, but I think she still views every single tournament exactly as she has done before. She’ll take the approach that, ‘I’m here, I’m ready and if I play my best tennis, I’ve got a great chance of winning’.”
What’s up NYC? pic.twitter.com/80KH8lX0aQ
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) August 21, 2019
Cahill believes last year’s runner-up Williams is a worthy favourite but thinks up to 20 players are capable of being crowned US Open champion.
“Simona is coming in refreshed, relaxed about the year she’s had after winning Wimbledon and she’s confident.” he added.
“I think it’s wide open. The bookies have Serena as the favourite, but then she has an incredibly difficult draw against [Maria] Sharapova in the first round – even though she has a great record against Maria.
“Maria is always the type of player who will rise to the occasion, so it will be a difficult one.
“If Serena plays her best I’m confident she would win that and then she has to go into any major as a slight favourite with the record that she has.
“Beyond that there are 15-20 players who you would not be surprised if they win it – such is the depth of the game on the women’s side and the professionalism has improved out of sight over the last 10 years.”