Testimony of a Great Coach: How Simona Halep Invigorated Patrick Mouratoglou’s Career

On a small stage set up in the BT Arena, in jeans and wearing white sneakers, Patrick Mouratoglou gave a masterclass, helped only by a few notes on paper.

He spoke of “the art of coaching”, but insisted that the things he was saying were not just about tennis. Indeed, the masterclass, stripped of technical details, felt more like a lesson in empathy and humanity than tennis.

Patrick Mouratoglou (EPA photo)

Mouratoglou insisted that there is no coaching method that works for all players, but rather that the method must be found for each player. He also insisted on the need to create a trusting relationship with the player, to “learn” the person: “who he is, where he comes from, how he sees tennis, how confident he is in every shot, how he feels when he loses, when he wins, what language he uses ”.

“I had lost my enthusiasm for this job”

The famous French coach, who, before Halep, had been working with Serena Williams for 10 years, also answered questions from the public and, not surprisingly, most of them focused on his relationship with the Romanian.

Mouratoglou told how he became Simona’s coach. “I hadn’t worked for eight months and I honestly thought I would never train anyone again. I had lost my enthusiasm for this job. I know that my main quality is enthusiasm and I felt that I had lost it. I also told those close to me that Serena was probably my last player. Then Simona appeared at my academy, we went to lunch together and I came to watch her for 15 minutes at a training session “.

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Because he liked what he saw, Mouratoglou returned the next day to see Simona in training. On the third day, he took the racket and started talking to the player about what he had done.

I experienced incredible emotions on the field with her. I thought: Wow, I’m not done with this at all. And I said, “Thank you, because thanks to you I love this job again – and I thought I didn’t love it anymore.”.

At the time, Mouratoglou was still on paper with Serena Williams’ coach, but they hadn’t worked together for eight months. He felt she needed to work again, Serena was undecided – so they finally ended the collaboration, and the coach contacted Simona and said, “I’m ready for you, if you’re ready for me. ”

Why Simona? I said to myself: imagine that everyone would want to work with you, who do you choose? And I always came back to her. And it was clear to me.

The testimony of a great coach: how the player Simona Halep revived Patrick Mouratoglou's career
Simona Halep, training with Patrick Mouratoglou for the French Open, May 18, 2022 – photo Profimedia

As Patrick Mouratoglou describes Simona Halep

Someone in the audience asked Mouratoglou to describe Simona in one word. He replied that it was impossible for him, but he could give three words in return. He chose: “generous”, “brave” and “resilient”.

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“She is generous not only with people, but also with effort, no matter what effort we are talking about. He can’t do things only halfway. “

How Patrick Mouratoglou felt when Simona Halep lost at Roland Garros: “I didn’t see that defeat coming”

Asked to describe how he perceived Simona’s defeat at Roland Garros, the athlete’s coach insisted that he was responsible for the failure: “I always think I’m responsible for what happens. I felt like I didn’t do a good job, so I wasn’t happy with myself at all. And I’m not usually that unhappy. “

I didn’t do what I had to do, I didn’t feel this defeat coming, I didn’t do a good job, so I didn’t feel good.

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