Mouratoglou becomes Simona Halep’s full-time coach

Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach for 10 years, has accepted Simona Halep’s offer to become her full-time coach. The Romanian began sessions at the Mouratoglou Academy this week and the pair will begin their collaboration on the Tour in Madrid next month.

“You know me as Serena Williams’ coach. Today I start a new chapter in my coaching career: I am Simona Halep’s full-time coach,” Mouratoglou wrote in a newsletter sent to his subscribers on Thursday noon to make his return to the WTA Tour officially teamed up with one of the world’s best players.

Simona Halep
Halep in action at the Australian Open this year

Mouratoglou has coached several top players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Coco Gauff, whom he oversees during Grand Slam tournaments, but has not been a full-time coach since Wimbledon 2021, when Serena Williams was injured and then had to withdraw from the US Open.

The 51-year-old French coach told Tennis Majors that he realized “that he missed training big, even more than (he) thought”, and accepted a request from 30-year-old Simona Halep, now ranked No. 20 , to become her coach following a suggestion from her former coach, Darren Cahill, that she visit the academy.

Mouratoglou flew to meet Serena

The agreement was reached in two stages. First, the former world No. 1 visited the Mouratoglou Academy, the premier academy in Europe, located between Nice and Cannes, before flying to Indian Wells. On the Mouratoglou Academy courts, the coach and the player got to know each other, but ruled out the idea of ​​a collaboration despite the “loan” from a sparring partner, Arnaud Restifo, and an academy coach, Morgan Bourbon, who has worked with Benoît Paire.

While Halep reached the semifinals at Indian Wells, Mouratoglou flew to Serena Williams’ house and expressed her interest in training on the Tour again if she, now 40, were to continue postponing her return to court. “After this discussion, I knew I could start working as a coach with someone else, at least in the short term,” Mouratoglou says.

Initial focus on French Open success

After Miami, a tournament in which Halep did not participate due to physical problems, the collaboration began on clay, with the French Open in sight.

“The goal is probably one day to stop his career thinking: ‘I have done the maximum of what I could have done,'” Mouratoglou said in an interview with Tennis Majors, which will be broadcast on our English page later today.

She has been No. 1 (she became No. 1 for the first time in October 2017 and held last place in January 2019), she has won Grand Slams (French Open 2018 and Wimbledon 2019). There is no reason why she could not or would not be able to do it again. She is a master. I also feel that she has a big margin for improvement in many areas and she is still very hungry. So I think it’s a great foundation for building something and with the goal of doing it at least as well as before. ”

Simona Halep and Serena Williams, Wimbledon final, 2019
Halep has his winning trophy after beating Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final in 2019

Mouratoglou on Halep: “Her dedication is incredible”

“I do not think we should set any boundaries,” Mouratoglou continued. I will always look at every single detail and improve every single detail that I believe can be improved, whether it is on the physical, mental, technical, tactical side. So we’ve already looked through a lot of things, from the way she competes to her fitness to her games in general to her exercises. There are many things I see, I feel we can do better. And she is completely in that mindset. ”

Mouratoglou admits he did not know Halep very well outside of the 12 head-to-head meetings between Serena Williams and the Romanian player previously. “Serena beat her most of the time (10-2), except for one very important match, which was the final at Wimbledon, where she played great tennis. But I respected her game and her intensity. And I knew, every time Serena played her that when Serena would drop a little in concentration, Simona would be on top of her right away. “

But he also says the ice was quickly broken. “The connection went honestly super fast; I will say, the first two hours we discussed, yes. Sometimes you feel the connection right away. Sometimes it takes a long time. In Simona’s case, it was instantaneous, really. Like I said she is super smart and she is also super sensitive and she was very open to me. So it was easy in a way. She made my job easy by being open and giving me the feeling that she is willing to work and fully commit to what we have to do. ”

Simona Halep, Madrid, 2021
Halep on the clay in Madrid – AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Halep reconstruction after injury

Simona Halep has had a difficult 2021, including a torn left calf that kept her off the field for three months and led to her withdrawing from the French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics, and she is very popular in Romania. Down as No. 27 two months ago, she has played 22 matches this season and won the title in Melbourne Summer Set 1; reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (lost to Alizé Cornet) and the semifinals of Indian Wells (won by Iga Swiatek), after dominating Ons Jabeur, the only other top 10 player she has met.

Patrick Mouratoglou and Simona Halep, April 2022
Patrick Mouratoglou and Simona Halep, April 2022 © Mouratoglou Academy

“I think she did a decent part, the first part of the season,” Mouratoglou said. Doha, Dubai, was not good because I think it was a period when she was a little questioning [of] even so she did not play well. But then I think she made a big effort in Indian Wells when she reached the semifinals when she was injured from the first game. She is doing well so far, but I feel she can do much better. ”

Mouratoglou and Halep travel together for the first time to the WTA 1000 in Madrid (April 28 – May 7) to begin their on-Tour collaboration.

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