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Halep: All In with Mouratoglou

Simona Halep made a successful start to the Citi Open seeing possibility in her game—and hearing a familiar voice in her head.

Former world No. 1 Halep dispatched Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-3, 7-5 in her Washington, DC opener.

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Deadlocked at 5-all in the second set, Halep could hear coach Patrick Mouratoglou's urging echoing in her ears even though Mouratoglou isn't on site.

"At 5-All I told to myself what actually he was telling me when I have panic moments during the matches: to calm down and just to do what I have to do," Halep said. "So just to focus on what I have to do and to be brave to do it even if sometimes I miss. I just have to do it and I did it. It worked super well today."

You can understand why Halep hears Mouratoglou's voice in her head: she's all in with Team Mouratoglou.

"Everything is Mouratoglou now. The team, it's 100% him," Halep said. "Everything that it's going around me, it's about his academy and his-self. I made this change because I really felt to do it.

"I thought I will be done with tennis at 30, but now I started something nice and something new. Everything is completely new. So I will enjoy. Actually I'm enjoying already. I will see how good I can be in the future."

Returning to Washington, DC for the first time since 2017, Halep says she's feeling clarity on court these days.

The 30-year-old Romanian said the sense of calm comes from her work with Mouratoglou. The pair start their partnership in April after Halep and Darren Cahill split last fall. 

"Darren left me in September last year, so I didn't leave him," Halep told the media in Washington, DC.

The world No. 16 says she's feeling recharged working with Mouratoglou, Serena Williams' former coach.

"What I can say in this moment it's the best thing that could happen to me, to meet Patrick. He has super energy," Halep said. "He's super kind. So it means a lot for me to work with people like this.

"All his experience and all his advice is amazing, so I'm enjoying a lot this period. He brought me back to love tennis, to love working, which never happened before. Now I'm just giving my best every day. We don't have expectations in order of results. We just have expectations to work hard and to improve.

"We will see what we can do together."

Photo credit: Simona Halep Instagram