Simona Halep (Romanian pronunciation: [siˈmona haˈlep]; born 27 September 1991) is a Romanian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world no. 5. Halep first broke into the world’s top 50 at the end of 2012, the top 20 in August 2013, and then the top 10 in January 2014 (after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinal). She won her first 6 WTA titles in the same calendar year in 2013 (a feat that was last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1986 when she won her first 7), being named the WTA’s Most Improved Player at its end, as well as being named ESPN Center Court’s 2013 Most Improved Player.Halep reached the 2014 French Open final, her first Grand Slam final, where she played against Maria Sharapova, losing in three sets. She also reached the final of the WTA Finals the same year, losing to Serena Williams in straight sets after having defeated her earlier in the tournament.
Halep has been the most clicked player on WTATennis.com for two consecutive years (2014–2015), when she was awarded the WTA Most Popular Player of the Year prize.
Simona Halep’s current clothing sponsor is Adidas, having previously had her apparel supplied by Lacoste and her shoes by Nike. She also signed a deal with Vodafone Romania for 3 years.
She was coached from an early age by Ioan Stan, a local tennis coach in Constanța.
In January 2014, Simona Halep hired Belgian coach Wim Fissette, former coach of Kim Clijsters and Sabine Lisicki.At the end of the year, she chose to split with him and hired Romanian coach Victor Ioniță, with Thomas Högstedt serving as a coaching consultant for the first three tournaments of the year. She is managed by Virginia Ruzici. Her fitness coach is Teo Cercel.
In November 2015, Halep has announced that Darren Cahill will be her full-time coach, starting in January 2016.
In the past, Halep has been coached by Adrian Marcu,Andrei Mlendea and Firicel Tomai.
Simona Halep has self-described her playing style as being “an aggressive baseliner” and “she models her game on Justine Henin”. Henin herself said of Halep, “She has an intelligent game. There is a little something that reminds me of myself… it is offensive and aggressive.”
In 2010, before her breakthrough, New York Times columnist Michael Kimmelman described her as “a scrappy player from Romania, short but with potent ground strokes and a scrambler’s talent.”
By 2014, Louisa Thomas of Grantland was writing with admiration that “it turns out that [Simona] is astonishingly fast. She started to think ahead during points […] she has uncanny anticipation. She became even faster […] her strokes became more simple: compact, beautiful, unreadable. […] she learned to disrupt the opposition’s rhythm and disguise her own. At her best, she does not play in patterns. She hits with surprising power. She covers the whole court. She hits balls with heavy power without making a sound. […] Like Djokovic she has a talent for hitting winners from defensive positions. She is a defensive aggressor, an aggressive defender. She is becoming unclassifiable.” After Halep finished runner-up in her first Grand Slam final against powerful hitter Maria Sharapova in Roland Garros in 2014, Eleanor Crooks of The Independent wrote that Halep “has a lovely fluidity of movement and superb balance that enables her to comfortably trade with more powerful players”. Michael Beattie of Wimbledon.org also noticed that [Halep] “is free of the shrieks, tics and fist-pumps of her contemporaries.”
In terms of tennis strategy Halep is an aggressive counterpuncher. Her very fit body and athleticism provide her with very good all-court movement and she tends to make few errors; she also uses this agility to reach the ball earlier because of her wide back swings and sliding. At the same time she likes to control the rally and can hit very effective cross-court and down-the-line flat shots, generally producing winners.
Grand Slam tournament finals
Singles: 1 (0–1)
|Runner-up||2014||French Open||Clay||Maria Sharapova||4–6, 7–6(7–5), 4–6|
Grand Slam singles performance timeline
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Australian Open||Q1||3R||1R||1R||QF||QF||1R||0 / 6||10–6||62.5%|
|French Open||1R||2R||1R||1R||F||2R||0 / 6||8–6||57.14%|
|Wimbledon||Q1||2R||1R||2R||SF||1R||0 / 5||7–5||58.33%|
|US Open||1R||2R||2R||4R||3R||SF||0 / 5||12–6||66.67%|
|Win–Loss||0–2||5–4||1–4||4–4||17–4||10–4||0–1||0 / 22||37–23||61.67%|
Doubles performance timeline
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Australian Open||1R||1R||1R||1R||A||0 / 4||0–4||0%|
|French Open||1R||2R||1R||A||A||0 / 3||1–2||33.33%|
|Wimbledon||1R||1R||1R||A||1R||0 / 4||0–4||0%|
|US Open||2R||1R||1R||A||A||0 / 3||1–3||25%|
|Win–Loss||1–4||1–3||0–4||0–1||0–1||0 / 14||2–13||13.33%|
|Australian Open||A||0 / 0||0–0||0%|
|French Open||A||0 / 0||0–0||0%|
|Wimbledon||A||0 / 0||0–0||0%|
|US Open||QF||0 / 1||2–0||100%|
|Win–Loss||2–0||0 / 1||2–0||100%|