French Open champion Simona Halep is playing her first event with her new coach, Thierry Van Cleemput, this week in Doha.
The Belgian coach was previously with David Goffin, and it was his former pupil that prompted Halep to consider adding him to her team. When Van Cleemput and Goffin split at Melbourne, Halep had some conversations with Van Cleemput during the tournament.
They have since done a week of training in Bucharest.
“He's a good person, and I hope the things will go okay," she told press at Doha. "I always admired Goffin because I liked his game and also the fact that he's going into the court a lot. It's just a new collaboration."
The 27-year-old won the 2018 French Open, her first Grand Slam, and also took the title at Montreal—while also making the Cincinnati final. But she didn't get another win for the rest of the season, partly because of back problems. Her coach Darren Cahill's decision to stop traveling on tour also left her looking for a new coach, though she initially said she did not want to get someone else straightaway.
“Any time during your career I think you need a coach, so that's why I got one. It's impossible at this level to go alone to the tournaments and to play tennis,” Halep said. “You need support, you need people around, so I am for the coach thing.”
The former No. 1 is among several top WTA players switching coaches, but says she has also changed during her career.
“I have more experience,” Halep said. “I see the things different. So I think all together help me to be a better person and a better player every time I step on the court.”
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