Simona Halep has revealed she almost retired from tennis back in February but has now got the “fire back” after hiring Patrick Mouratoglou as a coach.
The Romanian is a former world number one and two-time major winner, but has not won a Grand Slam since 2019 and was plagued with injury problems in 2021.
Earlier this week, the 30-year-old suffered a panic attack during her second round match at the French Open against China’s Zheng Qinwen –– eventually losing in three sets 2-6 6-2 6-1.
Following her exit, Halep shared a message on her Instagram, thanking her fans and stressing that the last 18 months has been extremely difficult for her.
Halep reveals she considered retirement
The two-time major winner wrote: “Hi everyone, I’m writing down these words because I feel like sharing with those who care. As always, I feel such great support from my fans, and I’d like to say thank you to all of you!
“You are great! You are supporting me unconditionally, and this means a lot!
“I’m generally not a dramatic person, and I hope I don’t sound like this by writing these words now. The last 18 months were very tough, emotional, and physical.
“After losing in Doha, my message to the people very close to me was that I could not do it anymore, that I was done with tennis. But somehow, I got the fire back and started to feel the love for tennis again, and I decided to work hard and make significant changes.”
Halep then proceeded to thank her coach Mouratoglou, who she began working with after Indian Wells this year.
Mouratoglou was the long-time mentor of Serena Williams and helped the US star win 10 Grand Slam titles.
“I am very proud of myself for all I have done lately,” Halep said. “I could only do this with Patrick’s help, and I want to thank him for being by my side.”
Halep says it will take time to get back to the top
While the Romanian had previously stated she wanted to return to the top 10 by the end of the year, it appears her outlook has changed somewhat now.
“The results are tough of course because the expectations are high,” she admitted.
“I’m a grand slam winner, I’m a former number one, and I am expected to win. But nothing should be taken for granted. To be able to touch the highest mountain in tennis again, I need time and a lot of hard work. It is not my personality to give up, so tomorrow is a new day and I’ll be ready to start again!
“By the way, now I know how it is to have a panic attack; not easy to handle, but I’m over it now, and I am smiling already!”