Athlete Profile: Simona Halep
Simona Halep is one of the most popular players around: both with players and fans. She’s finished the year number one two years in a row now, 2017 and 2018. She also now holds two Grand Slams, both the French and Wimbledon titles. In addition, she has won seven WTA premier tournaments. Her prize money now stands at more than $33,000,000 earned in her career. These are hall of fame stats for sure.
All this aside though, what I think makes Simona really interesting is her relationship with the beautiful country of Romania. They love her and she loves them. Simona comes from the coastal town of Constanta. Having lived in Romania, and visited Constanta, I can attest how special this town is. During the summer months, most of Romania heads to Constanta and neighboring resorts to vacation along its beaches. It’s a nonstop party!
Romania has many storied athletes in its history and they tend to support each other. Her support system consists of a who’s who of Romania. For example, Ion Tiriac, who was a former player and who became a highly successful businessman is known to be in her tight circle and routinely advises Simona.
Another Romanian great that’s a big supporter of Simona is Gheorge Hagi. He’s considered the best soccer player ever to come out of Romania. Like Simona, Hagi is also from Costanta. When Simona talked to fifa.com last year she talked about how she has always loved soccer and how Gheorge Hagi has been a hero of hers. In the 90s Hagi led the Romanian National team to three World Cups, famously beating a strong Argentina side in the round of 16 at the 1994 World Cup.
Her coaching team
There is one non-Romanian that has been a fixture by her side, and that is Darren Cahill, former coach of Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi. Darren split from Simona after the 2018 season to spend more time with his family, but he’s still advising her, and she still considers him an important component of her team. Don’t be surprised if he makes a full-time comeback in the near future.
Teo Carcel is another important member of this team, being her physical trainer since the junior years. Insiders say he’s the unsung hero in her success. Finally, there’s Daniel Dobre, Simona’s new full-time coach. He replaced Cahill and has coached Simona in the past. Halep says the reason he was chose is because they have a connection, which Halep maintains is more important than the technical aspects of a coach, especially at this point in her career.
Only time will tell how many more trophies Simona Halep takes back to her beloved Romania.