Simona Halep sets out her goals and vision after teaming up with Patrick Mouratoglou

Simona Halep press conference

Simona Halep is already seeing the benefits of working with Patrick Mouratoglou as she feels her new mentor has helped to “open up” while she hopes he can help her to achieve her goal of winning a hard-court Grand Slam.

After parting ways with long-time coach Darren Cahill in September last year, Halep had short-term contracts with Daniel Dobre and Adrian Marcu before opting to go it alone after the Australian Open.

Following two months of solo touring with mixed results, the former world No 1 announced last week that she is to work with Mouratoglou, who has mentored Serena Williams for the past decade.

Williams is currently out injured and has given her backing to the partnership, but it is expected to be a short-term agreement with the 23-time Grand Slam winner likely to return to action in a few months.

Halep explains why the Frenchman is a “good match”.

“I didn’t really know him before this year,” she told Tennis Majors. “We never talked and I didn’t have a feeling of how he is, but I saw that he has a strong personality and he’s pretty hard as a coach. So I thought he’s a good match for me and that’s why I’m here.

“He’s easy to talk to. We know each other pretty well already, which is a big step for me because I’m not very open to everybody, I’m a very introverted person. So he made me open and I think this is a good thing for our relationship on court. His simplicity is super heavy, super strong. He has a few words that he tells you and you understand perfectly what you have to do.”

Simona Halep news: Mouratoglou explains why he decided to work with Romanian as he sets out goals

Being a former world No 1 and a two-time Grand Slam winner means Halep is considered one of the current greats on the WTA Tour, but there is still room for improvement.

“I want to take the ball earlier. I want to open the court much better than I did before. I don’t say that I had a bad game before but I want to make it stronger,” she said.

“I would like to get stronger in the body as well, because to be offensive and to be close to the baseline, to play with the big hitters is not easy. So you have to be strong on the body. I will work on that, but also to open the court to use some angles a little bit better than before and actually to take the ball early. So that’s the goal and our vision.”

The 2022 clay-season is up and running and the 30-year-old “loves” the surface, having won the 2018 French Open and three WTA 1000 titles on the red dirt.

Halep’s other Grand Slam trophy came on grass as she won Wimbledon in 2019 so unsurprisingly she would like to add a hard-court major to her CV.

“I love clay so that’s why I probably I was able to win many tournaments on clay and also the French Open,” she said. “I won Wimbledon, which I never expected because it’s super fast and you need the serve. So I don’t have a big serve there. But my game was really good in that year and it was just perfect for the surface and I was very confident.

“I’ve won tournaments on the hard court, also big tournaments, but I couldn’t win a Grand Slam yet, so probably I have to do something extra to be able to win a Grand Slam there, and that’s why I’m working now with Patrick. Maybe he can help me to be able to win a Grand Slam on hard court. It would be super, super nice to have that also in my career.”