Sports

Simona Halep: Romania’s Premier Tennis Star In Trouble

Simona Halep

Simona Halep is a Romanian tennis player who is one of the most successful women’s tennis players in recent memory. She has held the world number 1 spot for 64 weeks (finished 2018 and 2019 as the World Number 1) and won a fantastic Wimbledon final against the legendary Serena Williams as well. In this post, we will find out more about Simona Halep. Let’s get started.

Simona Halep: All You Need To Know

When was Simona Halep born?

Simona Halep was born on September 27, 1991, into an Aromanian family in the city of Constanta. Her father, Stere was a football player for the Sageata Stejaru team and owned a dairy factory. 

How did Simona Halep start playing tennis?

Simona Halep started playing tennis at age 4, being coached by Ion Stan, her older brother’s coach. At the age of 6, she practiced this sport daily. As a child, Simona Halep also played handball. She moved to Bucharest at 16 to continue her tennis career. Two of her idols from her youth in tennis were Justine Henin and Andrei Pavel, and from outside tennis, Gheorghe Hagi.

Where did Simona Halep study?

Simona started her studies at a Secondary School named“Gheorghe Siteica” in Constanța. Between 2006 and 2010, Simona Halep was a student at the “Nicolae Rotaru” Sports Program High School in Constanta.

In 2014, Simona Halep got her license at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports of “Ovidius” University in Constanta. 

Simona Halep: Grand Slam Success

2018 

Simona starts 2018 perfectly, winning the tournament in Shenzhen. In the final, she defeated 2017 champion Katerina Siniakova in three sets: 6-1, 2-6, 6-0. She also prevailed in the doubles event at the Chinese tournament alongside Irina-Camelia Begu, defeating the main favorites Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova in the final. For Simona Halep,  it was the first WTA doubles title, and for Irina the seventh.

Halep lost the Australian Open final to Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in a close three-set match: 6–7 (2–7), 6–3, 4–6.

In June 2018, Simona Halep managed to win her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, defeating world number 10 Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, after losing the first two finals at this tournament with Maria Sharapova (in 2014) and Jelena Ostapenko (in 2017).

In August 2018, Simona Halep won the WTA tournament in Montreal again, defeating the American Sloane Stephens for the second time in a row. Also in August, she reached the final of the tournament in Cincinnati, where she lost to Kiki Bertens, although she had a match point in the second set.

As of September 2018, Simona Halep had reached 47 weeks at the top of the world rankings and ranks 11th in an all-time ranking, moving even closer to Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who was in 10th place, with 51 weeks at the top position of the WTA ranking.

That month, however, she was eliminated from the first round of the Wuhan tournament because of injury and dropped out in the first round in Beijing. An MRI scan revealed that Halep was suffering from a herniated disc. ​​The media speculated that she should not have gone to these tournaments, but did so to get the $1 million bonus from the WTA for playing all the Premier Mandatory tournaments and four of the five Premier Five tournaments.

2019

In July 2019, Simona Halep won the prestigious Wimbledon, after winning the final 6-2, 6-2 against the former world number 1, Serena Williams. 

En route to the final, Simona Halep defeated Aleksandra Sasnovich, Mihaela Buzarnescu, Victoria Azarenka, Coco Gauff, Shuai Zhang, and Elina Svitolina, losing only one set in all seven matches. Apart from the Wimbledon final, which she won, she played two other finals, in Qatar and Madrid, which she lost. She qualified for the Tournament of Champions for the sixth consecutive year, where she defeated Bianca Andreescu, but lost to Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova. She finished the year in 4th place.

2020

Simona Halep started the year at the new tournament in Adelaide, where she defeated Ajla Tomljanovic, but lost in the quarter-finals to Aryna Sabalenka. At the 2020 Australian Open, Halep reached the semifinals, where she lost to Garbine Muguruza, after defeating Jennifer Brady, Harriet Dart, Yulia Putintseva, Elise Mertens, and Anett Kontaveit. 

Halep won her 20th WTA title in Dubai, defeating Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka, and Jennifer Brady before defeating Elena Rybakina in a tiebreak in the final.

In August, she won her 21st WTA title in Prague, defeating Elise Mertens in the final.

Who is Simona Halep’s coach?

Simona Halep was trained from an early age by Ioan Stan, a tennis coach from Constanța. Halep was also coached by Firicel Tomai, Andrei Mlendea, and Adrian Marcu. From January 2014 until the end of the year, she was coached by Wim Fissette, the former coach of Kim Clijsters and Sabine Lisicki. 

Since the end of 2014, Simona Halep has been coached by Victor Ionița, Sorana Cirstea’s former coach. Simona Halep was coached by Darren Cahill, officially starting in January 2016. In 2019, she had Daniel Dobre as her coach, because Darren Cahill chose after the 4 years (2015-2018) in which he helped Simona Halep in every way, to retire from his professional coaching career for a year, wanting to spend his time with family. In the fall of 2019, she announced the return of Darren Cahill as coach, and the two began working together at the 2019 Tournament of Champions. Teo Cercel is her physical trainer, with the two having worked together since she was in junior high school. 

On April 7, 2022, Simona Halep announced that she would be coached by Patrick Mouratoglou.

Simona Halep: Honours and Accolades

In February 2014, Simona Halep received the title of Honorary Citizen of the city of Busteni, and in March 2014 the title of Honorary Citizen of Constanta County. In June 2018, she received the keys to the city and the title of Honorary Citizen of Bucharest.

On July 26, 2019, Romania’s postal services put into circulation a set of two slips, one with lace and one without lace, to honor Simona Halep’s victory at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in July 2019.

On July 30, 2019, she was decorated with the national Order “Star of Romania” in the rank of knight.

Simona Halep won the Grand Slams at Roland Garros (2018) and Wimbledon (2019), having previously lost three other finals: two at Roland Garros (2014, 2017) and one at the Australian Open (2018). She also played in the final of the Tournament of Champions (2014). Throughout her career, she won 24 WTA singles titles and played in 18 finals, being the most successful tennis player in the history of Romania.

She was named “Player of the Year 2018” by the WTA, also “Most Popular Player” in 2014 and 2015, and also “Fan Favorite” in singles in 2017, 2018, and 2019. In December 2018, Halep was chosen by ESPN as the most dominant tennis player of the year. She earned over $40 million from tennis, ranking 3rd all-time behind the Williams sisters.

What is Simona Halep’s net worth?

Since the beginning of 2018, she has been sponsored by Nike. On July 23, 2014, Simona Halep received the most important sponsorship contract concluded on the Romanian market between an athlete and a company, being sponsored by the Dedeman company with 500,000 euros.

Following the good course she had in recent years at the various tournaments she participated in, Simona Halep has accumulated more than 40 million Euros in prize money. Simona Halep’s net worth is estimated to be around 40 million Euros today. 

Why has Simona Halep been banned from tennis?

Simona Halep tested positive for the banned substance Roxadustat during the 2022 US Open. The drug is used to treat anemia. However, it can be used by athletes to increase the amount of red blood cells in their bloodstream, leading to an increased oxygen supply in the body, and boosting endurance and performance. For this reason, Roxadustat is a banned drug. 

After Simona Halep tested positive for Roxadustat, she received a provisional suspension. However, she was later found to have irregularities in her Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP) and was charged for that as well. The International Tennis Integrity Agency, which performs these tests, asked for a six-year ban. However, Halep eventually received a four-year ban.

Simona Halep has maintained that she took the drug unknowingly and isn’t guilty of performance-enhancing doping. She plans to appeal against the ban in the Court Of Arbitration for Sport.

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