Childhood & Early Life
Simona Halep was born in Constanta, Romania, on September 27, 1991. Born to Stere and Tania Halep, she grew up in a family of Aromanian descent. Her father, Steve Halep, is a former football player with a dairy products business in Romania. She has an older brother, Nicolae Halep, and a sister, Luminita.
Halep received her initial education from ‘Junior High School’ and started practicing tennis at the age of 4. She received coaching from Ioan Stan, a local tennis coach in Constanta. She received her initial training in tennis from Andrei Mlendea, Adrian Marcu, and Firicel Tomai. Belgian Coach Wim Fissette was hired to train her in January 2014, but she later decided to quit training under him. She then appointed Victor Ioniță, a Romanian coach. She trained under coaching consultant Thomas Högstedt for the first three tournaments of 2015. In November 2015, Halep hired Darren Cahill as her full-time coach. Currently, Teo Cercel is her fitness coach and she is managed by Virginia Ruzici.
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In 2008, at the age of 17, she started participating in junior competitions and entered the main draw as the ninth seed at the ‘Roland Garros Junior Championships.’ Halep played at many senior developmental ‘International Tennis Federation’ (ITF) tournaments during the spring of that year and won two $10,000 tournaments in Bucharest.
In 2009, she won $50,000 at a tournament in Makarska and attempted to qualify for a ‘Grand Slam’ at the ‘Roland Garros.’ The same year, she won a $25,000 ‘ITF’ tournament in Maribor. She also made her way to the semifinals of the indoor $50,000 ‘ITF’ tournament in Minsk, Belarus, and played brilliantly at a $25000 ‘ITF’ tournament played in Opole, Poland, in November.
In 2010, she lost the ‘Australian Open.’ However, during the ‘Andalucia Tennis Experience,’ at the clay court of Marbella, she secured a breakthrough by winning three matches and then qualified for the ‘Barcelona Ladies Open.’ In May 2010, she qualified for her first-ever ‘Grand Slam’ main draw, at the ‘French Open,’ but was defeated. In August 2010, she qualified for the main draw of the ‘US Open’ and lost there, too.
Halep reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 ‘ASB Classic’ in January 2011. For the first time in her career, she secured a spot in the third round of a ‘Grand Slam’ senior tournament, at the 2011 ‘Australian Open.’ However, she faced defeat there, too, and could not move on to the fourth round. She lost the ‘French Open’ and the ‘BGL Luxembourg Open’ in 2011. However, she was top-seeded at the 2011 ‘BCR Open Romania Ladies.’
Again, in 2012, she lost the ‘Australian Open.’ However, she made it to the third round of the ‘Indian Wells Masters’ in 2012 and the ‘Miami Masters’ the same year. Halep played at the 2012 ‘Brussels Open’ and managed to secure a place in the semifinals of the ‘WTA’ event.
At the ‘French Open’ in 2013, she faced her second successive ‘Grand Slam’ first-round exit. She won the ‘Budapest Grand Prix’ but lost the ‘Cincinnati’ championships. However, despite many failures on her journey uphill, she was ranked No. 11 on the global list of women tennis players in 2013–2014.
She played at the ‘Sydney International’ in January 2014 and was the No. 7 seed in a draw that contained six of the ‘WTA’s top 10 players. In the 2014 ‘Australian Open,’ she was the No. 11 seed.
In 2015, she won her ninth ‘WTA’ title at the ‘Shenzhen Open’ and her tenth title at the hardcourt event in Dubai. This helped her regain the third spot in the WTA rankings. At ‘Wimbledon,’ she was one of the six seeded female players who were knocked out in the first round. She competed at the 2015 ‘WTA Finals’ in Singapore and secured the second spot in the ‘WTA’ rankings. She clocked the best year-end ranking after winning three titles.
In 2016, she reached the semifinals of the Sydney tournament. She lost her first match at the ‘Fed Cup.’ However, despite the loss, she was chosen for Romania’s ‘Fed Cup World Group Playoffs.’ She faced defeat later at the ‘French Open’ and lost to Serena Williams at the ‘US Open’ in 2016.
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She lost in the second round of the ‘Shenzhen’ tournament in 2017 and the first round of the ‘Australian Open’ that year. She played at the ‘St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy’ in 2017 but was later forced to withdraw due to an injury. She was seeded third at the ‘French Open’ in 2017, but she lost the final match. She also lost in the first round at the 2017 ‘US Open.’ She became the seventh player to achieve the No. 1 rank without winning any ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments.
In 2018, she won her first-ever ‘WTA’ doubles title at the ‘Shenzhen’ tournament, with partner Begu. She was defeated at the ‘Australian Open’ but won the ‘French Open’ title the same year.
In 2019, Simona Halep won her first Wimbledon title, when she defeated seven-time champion Serena Williams in the finals.
Awards & Achievements
In February 2014, she played at the ‘Qatar Open’ to win six straight sets and the first-ever ‘Premier 5’ tournament. This made her feature on the list of the top five players, and she became the highest-ranked Romanian in the history of ‘WTA.’
She is also the first player since Martina Hingis to have reached a ‘Grand Slam’ final without losing a set. In the 2014 ‘Bucharest Open,’ Halep won the final in straight sets and secured the second title of the year. She gradually rose to the second position in the women’s rankings of the ‘WTA.’
She was named 2013’s ‘Most Improved Player’ by ‘ESPN Center Court’ and the ‘WTA.’ In 2017, she won the title of ‘WTA’s ‘Fan Favorite Singles Player.’
She is the first Romanian player to win a senior Wimbledon singles title.