Waiting for the second big event of the year, Simona Halep – who skipped the Billie Jean King Cup – is back on the court at the Mutua Madrid Open even if, this season, she has a very precise goal in mind. The dream, in fact, is called Olympics.
“I want to bring to my Romania a medal” she says in an interview granted to Gazzetta dello Sport. Perhaps following in the footsteps of Nadia Comaneci, his most famous compatriot: “What she has achieved in her career is something incredible and has been the inspiration for many young people in our country. I would like to follow her example”.
And, between champions the feeling is always great: “Nadia is a dear friend of mine and when she can she comes to see me play. She was in the stands when I won Roland Garros” recalls Simona Halep. The attention of the number 3 of the WTA ranking, however, at least for the moment, is all for the upcoming tournaments: “I solved the physical problems that prevented me from playing against Italy”.
Expectations from tournaments in Madrid and Rome
For the tennis player from Costanza, there are now two appointments – first Madrid and then Rome – that have already seen her triumph. In Italy she arrives as defending champion:
“I’m very attached to these two tournaments both for the memories and for the fans. In Spain and in Italy there are many Romanians and for me they are like a second home”.
Also for these occasions, the players will have to enter the “bubble” experimented for the first time in the USA last season. This is a topic that has long been the subject of discussion and has “turned up the nose” of more than one player: “When I travel around the world for tournaments, I like to visit cities and discover the local cuisine. That’s why I’m a little bit worried about not being able to go out, but I’m happy to have the opportunity to compete.
Simona Halep shared her opinion on tournaments during the pandemic.
“It’s very difficult to live in a bubble every week. But we have to be grateful that there are tournaments at all. It’s a privilege to play in such difficult times.It’s hard for everyone to be only in a hotel. But that’s okay. I hope everything will be back to normal soon. I am glad that there will be spectators in Madrid. It’s great”
Simona Halep, despite undergoing the vaccine, will still not be able to get out of the protected space. This increases the amount of time she has to spend in “close contact” with the other players and brings up a thorny question: can you be friends? “Yes, it is possible. The certainty is that we are not enemies,” she jokes. Then she adds: “Obviously there are closer relationships than others but this is a normal thing also outside tennis”.
Behind her successes there is the great relationship with her historical coach, the Australian Darren Cahill: “We talk a lot and we find each other very well. Plus now he can’t go back to Australia because of the pandemic”.