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Simona Halep exclusive: “I was close to retiring in 2021”
The former world No 1 said a visit to the Patrick Mourataglou Academy rekindled her love for tennis and desire to get back to the top
Former world No 1 Simona Halep says she was close to retiring in 2021 after a four-month absence through injury left her thinking she would never regain her best form.
In an exclusive interview with Alize Lim for Tennis Majors’ show “Major Talk”, that will be released on Thursday, Halep says she always thought she would retire at 30 but after visiting the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in the south of France earlier this year and later hiring him as her coach, she “has the fire back” and wants to add to her two Grand Slam titles.
“I thought at 30 I would be done and I was close to be done this year,” Halep said. “Actually last year, as well, after the injury I had,” Halep said. “At the beginning of the year (2022) I was a little bit better but still not very confident so I thought it may be the last period I could play tennis.
“But then I discovered this academy, I discovered something, the fire is back in my inside for tennis. Seeing the kids here doing everything possible to be at the top, I have it back. I needed that, to see in other people, in other kids, and I have it back.”
Halep: “I want to have kids, but they can wait a bit more”
Halep said her calf injury in 2021, which put her out of Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics, had rocked her confidence.
“I didn’t believe I would come back at the same level after the injury, because I was off about four months,” she said. “I had never been off four months from tennis, so I struggled big time last year. And also I thought at 30 it’s a good age to retire. I always thought about it but probably it was always in my mind.
“I would really love to have kids but they can wait a bit more because I have this pleasure I don’t want to give up.”