How Serena Williams’ former coach brought Simona Halep back from the brink of tennis retirement
She may have only won one Grand Slam title to her name, but Simona Halep has never been one for losing.
From the age of 14, the Romanian became synonymous with success by becoming the youngest tennis grand-slam winner in history when she won her first of two major titles at the Australian Open in 2007. The following year she became the first top seed to reach a U.S. Open final in 23 years, and finally won the Grand Slam tournament of her own with a victory in the 2015 French Open.
It wasn’t until 2017 that Halep’s career reached its zenith, with a stunning grand slam title in Vienna. Two months after winning the tournament, however, she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, with the prognosis being that she was to lose her right leg, making it impossible for her to compete at the highest levels of tennis.
As it has become widely known by her fans and critics, Halep had already battled with the condition for much of her career, and was forced to withdraw from the French Open before being forced to retire from tennis for good at the age of 27.
Now, after undergoing surgery and an intense rehabilitation program, the former Romanian star has returned to the world of competitive tennis and hopes that she can now get back to her winning ways at the highest level.
It has been over a year since Halep was forced to retire, and a long road to recovery has seen her battle physical limitations, mental fatigue and the need to be in constant pain. But the former tennis star has shown that she is determined to get back to winning matches regardless of how she may feel.
“There were many days where I didn’t want to do anything,” Halep tells BBC Sport in an exclusive interview about her recovery process. “Even when I was coming out of the coma