2022-Simona Halep: ‘He brought that fire back’: How Patrick Mouratoglou helped former world No. 1 rekindle her love for tennis


Having dropped exterior the coveted high 10 world rankings for the primary time since January 2014, Halep was falling out of affection with tennis.

Nevertheless, since she began working with Mouratoglou earlier this 12 months Halep says her ardour for the game has been reignited.

“I did not actually anticipate that as a result of I am not very open to individuals and it isn’t straightforward for me to belief in someone. But it surely was only a nice connection for the reason that first second I met him,” Halep says of Mouratoglou.

“I used to be virtually accomplished earlier than coming right here as a result of I did not have that fireside anymore and I did not belief that I will play on the highest stage once more. So coming right here I discovered it and I found once more why I play tennis,” she provides. “I play tennis as a result of I find it irresistible … He introduced that fireside again.”

Simona Halep hits a backhand return to Iga Swiatek of Poland in their WTA semifinal match at the Indian Wells tennis tournament on March 18, 2022.

New beginnings

In April, Mouratoglou announced on social media that he would begin teaching Halep full-time, after she visited his prestigious coaching academy in France forward of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

“I all the time love to look at her play. I believe she has an unbelievable sport, so she’s tremendous thrilling as a participant,” Mouratoglou tells CNN Sport. “She was taking part in nice already, however she may play way more. I may see the progress she may make.”

Identified by his moniker, “The Coach,” Mouratoglou is among the most sought-after instructors in tennis.

Serena Williams' coach reveals what kept the tennis champ going through injuries
He began teaching in 2005, working with Marcos Baghdatis on the junior circuit and serving to him get to world No. 1 at youth stage, in response to his official website.

A 12 months later Baghdatis bought to the Australian Open last earlier than shedding to Roger Federer and likewise reached the Wimbledon semifinal that very same season.

Since then, Mouratoglou has helped an array of promising younger gamers elevate their sport, together with Grigor Dimitrov, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and most notably 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, the website adds.

The key to his success? “In fact the fervour is an important. (If) the gamers haven’t got the fervour, they are not going to attain something nice,” mentioned Mouratolgou. “In order that’s the important thing.”

“Folks additionally of their life undergo moments wherein they type of perhaps lose their love for the sport for a time period or have much less love for the sport,” he provides. “I do not suppose she (Halep) misplaced it.”

What makes a champion

Tennis students train at the Mouratoglou Academy in Biot, southeastern France, on September 23, 2021.
Though Romania’s Halep has 23 singles titles underneath her belt — together with two grand slam wins — she needed to adapt to an particularly rigorous type of drilling on the Mouratoglou Academy.
She spent two weeks beginning a brand new coaching schedule at 8:30 a.m., one thing she advised reporters she “by no means did in my life,” the WTA reported.
“I did it with pleasure and I did it straightforward. In order that made me suppose that I nonetheless find it irresistible and I nonetheless can do it. So if I am wholesome, I believe I can have a superb sport,” she added, in response to the WTA website.

Alongside her bodily rehabilitation, Halep has labored with Mouratoglou on rebuilding her confidence.

“He is tremendous open, so it is tremendous straightforward to speak to him,” she tells CNN. “I am very emotional. I’ve many fears usually and I doubt myself many of the tim. And it was straightforward for me to truly categorical myself the best way I’m.”

When Mouratoglou appeared within the Netflix collection, “The Playbook,” in September 2020, he spoke about how a participant’s psychological power could make or break their means to develop into a champion.

The collection follows world-renowned sports activities coaches as they share their private guidelines for fulfillment each inside and outdoors the sector.

Simona Halep shares a light hearted moments with coach Patrick Mouratoglou during preparation for Roland Garros on May 18, 2022 in Paris, France.

“Everybody has limits, and the boundaries of everybody should not technical, tactical, bodily. They’re psychological,” Mouratoglou advised the documentary.

“And when you do not suppose like a champion, you do not act like a champion and do not win like a champion. So it is essential to verify the thoughts works proper.”

Mouratoglou tells CNN that he has an analogous method to rebuilding a participant’s psychological resilience as legendary soccer supervisor José Mourinho, who additionally appeared within the Netflix collection.

“He mentioned one thing like, ‘Soccer begins with the foot, continues with the guts and finishes with the pinnacle.'”

“The top is an important … as a result of when you do not deeply imagine that you may obtain one thing, you are not going to go full. You are going to go midway. You are going to discover causes to not do issues. You are going to discover excuses,” Mouratoglou says.

“I believe a giant a part of my job to assist individuals, on this case Simona, imagine in themselves and their means to attain what they need to,” he provides. “I all the time inform Simona how robust she is mentally as a result of I actually imagine it.

“She made my job tremendous straightforward, in a approach, by being so open and trusting me a lot.”

Partnership with Serena Williams

Mouratoglou isn’t any stranger to reinventing gamers who’ve hit all-time low.

In 2012 he approached a turning level in his profession, when he began teaching Williams, who had simply suffered an unprecedented defeat at Roland Garros to France’s Virginie Razzano. It was the primary time in Williams’ profession that she had misplaced within the first spherical of a serious competitors.
Serena Williams training with coach Patrick Mouratoglou in preparation for the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on September 26, 2020.

She was additionally in quest of a grand slam victory, having gone for 2 years with out successful a serious.

Mouratoglou and Williams had been dubbed the “Dynamic Duo” on tour and ended up tallying 10 grand slam victories collectively, in addition to a ladies’s singles title on the London 2012 Olympics.

“I am tremendous proud with what we have accomplished with Serena. Now, after all, I am tremendous grateful for these 10 years that had been unbelievable,” Mouratoglou says. “She’s trusted me for 10 years, which is one thing that you do not see fairly often within the tennis world.”

Williams has not performed since she retired from her first-round Wimbledon match in opposition to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in June 2021, throughout which she sustained a leg harm.

“It isn’t straightforward to inform somebody you labored with for 10 years that you’ll begin one thing with another person,” Mouratoglou provides. “It is a 10-year relationship … the place you share so many issues and so many emotion and so many moments.”

‘I am prepared to offer my finest’

When Mouratoglou and Halep communicate to CNN they’re prepping for Roland Garros, the place the 30-year-old Romanian is scheduled to play in opposition to Croatia’s Ana Konjuh within the first spherical on Sunday.

Halep has fond recollections of the French Open, having gained her maiden grand slam title in Paris after beating Sloane Stephens in 2018.

“The French Open is my favourite grand slam,” she says. “I really like town. I really feel nice. I just like the vibe. So every part will get collectively and I simply really feel nice. It may be a giant problem, this match, for me. I am prepared mentally. I am prepared to offer my finest.”

“I actually thought I might be accomplished by 30,” Halep says. “I used to be fallacious.”

“I need to play few extra years. I really feel like I can,” she provides. “My physique is okay. , I really feel wholesome. I really feel that my power stage is excessive. So I do not see any cause to cease now.”

Simona Halep hugs the trophy as she celebrates victory following the ladies singles final against Sloane Stephens at the French Open final on June 9, 2018 in Paris, France.

Nevertheless, there’s one participant who may stand in the best way of a 3rd grand slam tittle for Halep.

Poland’s Iga Swiatek has had a meteoric rise to develop into world No. 1 over the previous 12 months.
In April, she clinched her fourth straight title of the 2022 season on the Stuttgart Open last, pushing her successful streak to 23 matches.
At simply 20 years previous, Swiatek has proven no signal of wavering. If she wins the French Open, she’ll equal Venus Williams’ report this millennium of 35 successive victories.

“For the final month, Iga has proven a whole lot of stability bodily, mentally and tennis smart. She’s tremendous stable in every part. That is why she’s been successful a lot. However I believe everyone is beatable,” Mouratoglou says.

And Mouratoglou is assured that Halep’s psychological fortitude may rival Swiatek.

“She’s additionally an ideal participant, however what makes her particular is the truth that she’s extraordinarily robust mentally,” he says. “I really feel that additionally she believes in herself and the mix can do wonders.”


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