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Amid Life-Changing Season, Halep Retains Killer Instinct

By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, October 8, 2021

Autumn is a season of change for Simona Halep.

In the space of a few weeks, Halep married fiancé Toni Iuruc, split with long-time coach Darren Cahill, celebrated her 30th birthday on September 27th and translated her fine footwork from the court to the dance floor at her Romanian wedding. 

More: Murray Regains Stinky Shoes and Wedding Ring

"The party, the wedding was great," Halep told the media in Indian Wells after defeating Marta Kostyuk 7-6(2), 6-1 in her BNP Paribas opener. "I mean, I had a lot of fun. We danced a lot. Yeah, I enjoyed it maximum."

High-stepping her way back to tournament play, Halep said while she's parted from coach Killer Cahill, she hasn't lost her killer instinct.

"With Darren, yeah, it was not easy, but we have been together six years, great years, and he will be my friend forever," Halep said of Cahill. "He's a great person. We still talking. It's nice to end one tennis relation in this way.

"Yeah, I'm good. Of course it's not easy after so long time not having him anymore, but I still feel him there. So it's good."


A post shared by Simona Halep (@simonahalep)

The 2015 Indian Wells champion said she and Cahill made a mutual decision to part company and she believes the man who coached Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and herself to world No. 1 rankings will coach again.

"We thought it's the right moment because we had like six years together," Halep said. "He always said that when it's too long is not healthy for the player and for the coach. So, yeah, it was together that we decided.

"Even if he will coach another player, for me will be the same. He's my friend and always will be. But I will be happy to see him coaching again. I'm sure that he can do another player to touch their dream, yeah, her dream or his dream. I don't know what he's gonna coach. But I will be happy to see him back on tour, yes."

The two-time Grand Slam champion is working with Romanian coaches Daniel Dobre and Adrian Marcu, who previously worked with the former world No. 1 back in 2013.

A calf injury sidelined Halep earlier this season and that injury-inducted inactivity saw her fall out of the Top 10 in August ending her streak of 373 consecutive weeks inside the Top 10, which is the eighth longest Top 10 streak in WTA history.

The world No. 17 could square off against US Open champion Emma Raducanu next if the 19-year-old British sensation wins her opener tonight against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Raducanu thrilled fans sharing an image of her as a kid meeting the Wimbledon champion and while Halep said she has no memory of the meeting she is mightily impressed with the teenager.

"I don't remember anything from that picture when was taken, but I saw it and I was really happy that we have this picture. She was very nice to send me that one on Instagram," Halep said of Raducanu. "Actually, I feel old when these teenagers are coming and winning the Grand Slams, but we just have to admire them. It's amazing to be able to win at this age. I feel like at 18 you are so young and you are not actually ready for the big success, but they are and they have been.

"So I admire all the 18-years-old that are playing so well and winning so big tournaments. Yeah, I wish her luck. She has to stay focused, because, yeah, many, many years ahead of tennis, so I'm sure that she will win more. But, yeah, will be a little bit tough when she feels the pressure, I think."

Photo credit: BNP Paribas Open Facebook