Simona Halep was on the shortlist of athletes invited to the opening press conferences at Wimbledon and addressed a multitude of topics on this occasion. From her physical condition, the unpleasant experience at Roland Garros and what she learned from that episode, her relationship with new coach Patrick Mouratoglou to her retirement from tennis, Wimbledon traditions and the disappointment (or not) that she is not the one who opens the tournament, as the winner of the tournament in 2019, following the withdrawal of Ash Barty, who should have opened the tournament.
This was one of the first questions with which the conference started, Simona being asked what she thinks about the fact that Iga Swiatek was chosen to open the tournament and not she, in the absence of Ash Barty, the winner of the last edition, as tradition demands. Simona’s answer was quite frank: she wants to put herself in the position to open the tournament again, which, of course, presupposes a new trophy here. I can say that I am sad that I missed the honor of opening the tournament, being injured (not in 2021 she would have opened the tournament, as a trophy holder, after in 2020 the tournament was not played), so although I had that chance, could not. Maybe I will have this chance again, so I will look forward to it “, said Simona.
Asked how she feels physically, if she has recovered, after retiring from Bad Homburg a few days ago with a neck problem, Simona’s answers were balanced and nuanced: she feels good, she is more and more confident, he feels he can play very well on the grass again, but he prefers to take things in stride. “I feel good, I feel better and better. I’m getting better every day. I am healthy. It took me two days to recover from those neck problems. I feel confident and I had some good matches on the grass. But you never know on the grass. So I want to train intensely to get in shape and start to feel better and better the ground and the surface. I have a special connection with this field, because in 2019 I played very well, so I have some very beautiful memories. ”
Another topic that Simona tried to explain to journalists is the episode of Roland Garros, with that panic attack suffered during the match with Qinwen Zheng. Simona considers that, although it was difficult for her to manage that moment, which decisively influenced the fate of the game, that experience was beneficial, because she took it as a lesson: “It was a good experience for me. I hope it doesn’t happen again, because I didn’t like it, but now I would know how to handle such a situation. He came from nowhere, because I was in charge, so there was no problem. It was probably the pressure of the tournament, the pressure to do well, the pressure of the fact that I struggled a lot last year and I didn’t think I was strong enough.
Now, instead, I feel strong and I feel that if it happens again, I know how to handle it. It’s never easy. As I said, I have never had a panic attack on the field in a match, so it was very difficult for me to find a solution. I think we all go through such moments, so I won’t be too hard on myself because I was weak in that match. I take it as an experience and as a lesson, so that next time I can respond better. ”
Other interesting statements given by Simona
About the relationship with Patrick Mouratoglou: “Honestly, I didn’t expect to have this chance to work with Patrick when I went to him at the Academy. I am very honored to have him on my team. He’s a great coach and has a lot of experience. I feel quite often that pressure to be good, better. But he gives me time. He has patience. He supports me in everything I do. He tries to understand me because I think that’s the main thing I want from a coach: to understand me, because I’m a pretty emotional person most of the time. I feel I’m getting better. Even if I didn’t earn much, I feel we need time to get to know each other better, to be able to implement everything he tells me. ”
About Karolina Muchova, first round opponent: “It’s a very difficult first round. I know she plays very well, I know her very well and it will be a big challenge. But in the end I have nothing to lose. This year I told myself that I would give myself time to improve as much as possible. So I’m just trying to be happy. Every time I enter the field, I enter with the thought that I have a chance. So I will fight for her. ”
About the moment when he thought about retiring and what changed his perception: “After Doha, I felt that I could no longer do that, that I could not continue like this. I fell, I felt exhausted and I didn’t think I could be in the top again.
Then I went to Patrick’s Academy, not thinking I could work with him because he was with Serena, so it was impossible to think about that. But the atmosphere I found at the academy, with all the kids there who were on the field at 8 in the morning and working hard, seeing that desire of theirs to work to one day become champions made me understand that I can still play tennis and I still love doing that.
That’s why I’m here today: because of that vibe from the Academy, because I went to the Academy and because of the meeting with Patrick, who told me that he really believes in my chances to come back. “
Instead of conclusion. Asked if she would be satisfied with everything she has achieved so far if everything ends tomorrow, Simona answered: “If I stopped tomorrow, I am more than satisfied with everything I have achieved. But I don’t want to stop and I won’t stop (smiles).
I’m not thinking about that. I feel that I can become a better player than that, that I can improve more. I can be a better person, a better player than that. “