‘I’m A Different Person’ - Simona Halep Credits Academy Trip For Resurgence In Form - UBITENNIS
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‘I’m A Different Person’ – Simona Halep Credits Academy Trip For Resurgence In Form

The former world No.1 reveals how she managed to get the confidence back in her game.

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MUTUA MADRID OPEN 2022 CAJA MAGICA MADRID ( SPAIN ) SIMONA HALEP OF ROMANIA PHOTO: MATEO VILLALBA / MMO

After a turbulent past few months linked to injury Simona Halep looks to be back on track following what was a clinical performance during her second round match at the Madrid Open.

 

Taking on second seed and home favourite Paula Badosa, Halep produced tennis reminiscent of her best form as she strolled to a 6-3, 6-1, victory with relative ease. Although her Spanish rival was far from her best and did take a medical timeout for treatment on her shoulder. Nevertheless, Halep was in control throughout the encounter by winning 84% of her first service points and at one stage broke Badosa four times in a row. It is the first time she has beaten a top two player on the Tour since Angelique Kerber at the 2016 Canadian Open.

“She has confidence. She’s No. 2 in the world. I knew that I have to be focused for every point and to give everything I have, to give my best, and I think I did it great,” said Halep.
“I’m really pleased with the way I played. It’s exactly what we (my coaching team) talked about before the match, so that makes me super happy.”

Madrid marks the start of a new era in the career of 30-year-old Halep. It is the first tournament she is playing under the watchful eye of her new coach Patrick Mouratoglou who has previously worked with Serena Williams. The two managed to form an agreement earlier this year and the Romanian spent time training at Mouratoglou’s academy in France.

It was that four-week trip to the academy which Halep credits for reviving both her form and confidence. In a recent interview with tennismajors.com she revealed that she contemplated retirement from the sport last season due to uncertainty about how she will recover from injury.

I was in doubt when I arrived there. I didn’t know how much I could play and how good I could still play,” Halep reflected.
“But now I’m a different person. I feel more confident. I feel that the pleasure helps me to work harder, to work more. I spend more time on the court.’
“I think it’s everything coming from inside, and at this point I feel happy with myself. I feel that I have the chance to play good tennis again.”

Speaking specifically about her new mentor, Halep says she trusts Mouratoglou ‘100%’ to guide her on the Tour and the two only talk about the present, not the past.

The resurgence of Halep coincides with a tournament which has brought her success in the past. She is a two-time champion in Madrid after winning the title in 2016 and 2017. In the third round of this year’s draw she will be bidding to win her 30th match at the tournament. Standing in her way is Coco Gauff who beat Yulia Putintseva in her second round match. Gauff has also in the past received guidance from Mouratoglou and belongs to his academy’s ‘Super Team’ group which supports transitioning players.

“I played against her in Indian Wells not a long time ago,” Halep said of the American. “She’s always a dangerous, tough player. I think she’s super young, and she’s playing great tennis, so credit to her.’
“It’s great to see that in tennis. I’m just focusing, sounds like a cliché from me, but I’m really focusing on myself, and I just want to give everything I have every match and to follow what I need to follow.”

Halep is the only former champion remaining in the Madrid Open women’s draw following early exits from reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka and three-time winner Petra Kvitova.

Grand Slam

(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better

It was an epic five-set clash but imagine how better the match would have been if both were playing well at the same time…

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Hall of Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse the dramatic events that unfolded on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

 

Top seed Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to oust Jannik Sinner in a match of two halves. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie brought delight to the British fans.

On the other side of the draw, how will Rafael Nadal fair against the in-form Taylor Fritz? The Spaniard recently sidestepped a question about a potential new injury. 

As for the women’s draw, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab player to reach a major quarter-final. She will next play 34-year-old mum-of-two Tatjana Maria who had never been beyond the third round of a major until now. 

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WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur

All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday. 

 

The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open. 

“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”

To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-

  1. She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open. 
  2. Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
  3. Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. 
  4. Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
  5. She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
  6. Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
  7. Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
  8. She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022). 
  9. Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
  10. In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Image via twitter.com/wta

Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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