Major Talk #13: Simona Halep: “The fire is back. I want to win another Grand Slam.”
In the latest episode of Major Talk, Simona Halep tells Alize Lim that she almost retired at the end of 2021 but now has her spark back
Simona Halep is a two-time Grand Slam champion and a former world No 1 from Romania. After losing her first three slam finals, Halep won her first Grand Slam at Roland-Garros in 2018 and then won her second on grass at Wimbledon in 2019, beating Serena Williams in the final.
The winner of 23 titles worldwide, Halep announced earlier this month that she has hired Patrick Mouratoglou as her full-time coach, hoping that the Frenchman, who has helped Williams win 10 of her 23 slam titles, can help her return to the winners’ circle at the biggest events.
In the latest episode of Major Talk, interviewed by Alize Lim, Halep speaks about how she was close to retiring at the end of last year, how teaming up with Mouratoglou has given her new life and how she hopes to win more Grand Slams and get back to the top of the women’s game.
Key moments of Major Talk with Halep:
- 1.00: Simona Halep says she still has as much passion for tennis as she ever did, even at the age of 30.
- 1.20: The Romanian says she thought that at 30 she would already be retired, and says in fact, she was close to calling an end to her career in late 2021 after injury.
- 1.45: Halep says discovering the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy – her first time ever in an academy – had given her renewed life, especially seeing young players with real desire. “The fire is back,” she says.
- 2.45: Being away from the Tour for four months was the reason she thought she might retire.
- 3.05: She would love to have children, but they can wait for now.
- 3.15: Halep says she handles pressure better these days. Achieving more than she ever thought she could means she now just wants to see how she can do.
- 4.00: Halep says losing the 2018 Australian Open final actually gave her confidence that she would win the next slam final she played. She didn’t expect to reach the Wimbledon final, and playing Serena Williams, she had no expectations, but played the perfect match.
- 05.30: Halep says she has watched her win over Williams “about 100 times”.
- 06.15: She says losing the French Open final in 2017 left her depressed for three months.
- 07.00: Halep explains how she came to hire Patrick Mouratoglou as her coach. Darren Cahill suggested she train at the academy and when she did, she felt at home.
- 08.30: Halep says she feels Mouratoglou brings her confidence. “I feel him super-powerful inside.” She says she can listen to him easily and she feels like she can be open with him. “I trust him 100 percent. I already feel big progress.
- 10.00: Being married has not changed anything, she says, but her husband is a big supporter and is a perfect match.
- 11.10: She says she feels better now than she has done for three or four years. She says she’s practising more on court, with Mouratoglou.
- 11.50: Halep says she doesn’t read anything about her on the internet because she’s not on it. She says it’s better that way because not many people are saying positive things.
- 13.00: She says she’s achieved her dreams in tennis, including being No 1. Now, she says, she has goals, rather than dreams, including to win another Grand Slam.
- 15.00: Halep discusses playing tennis on the street as a child. She says she knew she wanted to be a professional when she was 14.
- 17.00 The 30-year-old says she played her first tournament when she was six and a half years old, and received a trophy for being the youngest player. The trophy is still in her trophy room today.
- 18.00: Halep says she often cries after matches, even now. “I think it’s good, it shows you care”.
- 19.40: Her idol is Justine Henin. “I felt I had some similarity with her”.
- 21.20: Halep discusses the idea of her kids playing tennis. “I always say I suffered enough, so they don’t have to suffer”.
- 22.00: She discusses her own struggles with anxiety, even if she says they are not on the same level as Naomi Osaka has gone through.
- 23.30: Halep says after defeats in Doha and Dubai, she didn’t believe she could get back to the top level. But she does now.