How Serena Williams’ former coach brought Simona Halep back from the brink of tennis retirement
She made a shocking decision in 2013 to call it quits, only to win five grand slams in the next five years. Now, a year later, the 32-year-old has finally hung up her boots. But first, she needed help. And from an unlikely source.
Simona Halep is playing at the Brisbane International in January.Getty
When Simona Halep announced back in 2013 that she would not compete for the next five years, she did so by putting her hand on her heart and repeating that word: “retirement.”
The former No. 1 had just lost a five-set epic to Vera Zvonareva in Rome and after the match, she took a deep breath and simply told the press she was going on maternity leave.
“It was not easy, but I feel very relieved,” she said at the time. “The decision has been made as I am very happy with my current life.”
Over the next five years, Halep did win two grand slams (the US Open in 2016 was just part of a string of four straight US Open titles) and she also became perhaps the greatest player of all time, winning back-to-back grand slam titles at the Australian Open in 2018 and 2019.
But after an injury plagued final part of her 2017 season, Halep said she was going to take a break from tennis to give her body some time to recover and also to give time to focus on her family.
There was a moment when Simona Halep’s career looked in ruins, and she was about to take a break from tennis. She did it in part to focus on her family.
Now, on the eve of her 29th birthday and just months away from the start of the Australian Open, Halep returns to the tennis courts, but this time on the road, with a new coach who brought her back from the brink of retirement.
‘We’re building a legacy and this is going to be great for the sport’
It’s more than a little ironic that Halep – who made headlines around the world when she announced she was going to retire in 2013, as a result of injuries – has recently been playing her