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

Simona Halep in action

Patrick Mouratoglou missed coaching “big time” and that was the main reason for his decision to start working with Simona Halep – with the blessing of Serena Williams.

The Frenchman has been 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams’ mentor for nearly a decade and they won 10 majors during that period.

However, the 40-year-old Williams has not played competitive tennis since June last year after she picked up a serious injury during the first round at Wimbledon.

It has left Mouratoglou on the sidelines and when Halep came knocking on his door, he initially told her he was unavailable, but then decided to have talks with Williams.

In an interview with Tennis Majors, he revealed: “When Simona was in Indian Wells, I decided to go see Serena to discuss the situation and see what was her own situation and what could be mine, if she was still counting on me or not, did she know exactly when she would restart playing, you know, all those things. So I went there to the US only to speak to her, which I did. And after this discussion, I knew that at least short-term I could start working as a coach with somebody else.

“I went to see Simona was and we had a discussion there. I did tell her that then I was available and then she said she was interested to work with me. So I told her, ‘Let’s go back to the academy and we’ll start something and we’ll see how things are going.’ And things went, I think, extremely well from the first minute. So then the situation was clear.”

Mouratoglou admits he is a happier person now that he is able to coach again.

“I missed it big time. Coaching is the passion of my life. It’s the job of my life,” he said. “And when I went to see Serena to discuss before starting with Simona, that’s what I told her. I said, ‘Coaching is the passion of my life and it’s difficult for me not to work.’ So yes, I missed coaching big, big time.

“Honestly, since I’m back to coaching with Simona, I cannot be happier to coach this again. It’s an incredible satisfaction for me to do that job. It’s incredible.”

Former world No 1 and two-time Grand Slam winner Halep has slumped to No 20 in the WTA Rankings, but she did start 2022 on a positive note as she won the Melbourne Summer Set and also reached the semi-final of the Dubai Tennis Championships and Indian Wells Masters.

Mouratoglou is determined to help her regain her best form.

“The short-term plan is to do everything so she’s the best player possible. I think she has achieved a lot already,” he said. “She has been No 1, she has won Grand Slams, so she’s part of the very, very, very few players who have been able to achieve incredible things. So she’s a champion, but I also feel that she has a big margin for improvement in many aspects, and she’s still very hungry.

“So I think it’s a fantastic basis to build something and with the goal to do at least as well as before. I think she has a great basis to continue to do extremely well. As I said, she’s very hungry for tennis. She feels like she can give more to tennis and she wants to see how far she can go. And I believe she can go very far, so that’s the idea – very far.”

He added: “I don’t think we should put any limits. She’s been No 1, she’s won Grand Slams. There is no reason why she couldn’t or she wouldn’t be able to do that again. So there won’t be any limits. The goal is not to say this is what we aim for, because sometimes you go even much further than what you think.

“The goal is to probably one day stop her career thinking, ‘I’ve done the maximum of what I could have done.’ And I think she has many years to go until she stops, and those many years, we want to make the best out of them. I think she has still such potential to improve in many aspects of her game. So it’s very exciting.”