Wimbledon Champion Simona Halep had a memorable discussion with her childhood tennis idol Justine Henin. In tennis legends vodcast, Romanian admits that she tries to imitate the playing actions of seven-times Grand Slam champion Henin. The Belgian tennis ace offered Simona important advice to put into practice when she returned to the field.
Earlier in 2013, in an interview, Simona Halep said: “My childhood idol was Justine Henin. I’d love to play against Justine Henin. We are a similar size and I liked her style because she was playing very aggressively and she moved very well around the court. I’ve tried to take a few things from her and apply them to my game.”
“I love your backhand” -Simona Halep says to Henin
In the recent Eurosports tennis legends vodcast, World Number Two Simona Halep had a remarkable conversation with Justine Henin and Mats.
Simona Halep: It’s a pleasure, actually, to talk to my idol! Because I was growing up actually copying her, I have to admit. Yeah, it’s a nice chat and I’m happy to join in!
Mats Wilander: You say “copied.” What was it about Justine’s game that was so attractive to you, Simona, as a young girl.
Simona Halep:Well, everything. First of all, we are the same height and we felt: “I have a chance to do it!”. And the backhand, even I’m not a one-handed backhand… I love your backhand, Justine. And I have actually copied the movements because she has always had strong legs. And She was playing, actually, very close to the baseline.
I tried to copy that… it’s not perfect, because I was very far sometimes. But I had it in my mind and I knew that it was the best thing to do then you’re not very tall!
Justine Henin: You can still improve this chapter (not to stay so far from the bottom line).
Simona Halep: Exactly! I am working on it.
Justine Henin: You can come closer to the baseline, I’m sure of that!
Simona Halep: And to the net no?, Everybody is telling me.
Justine Henin: And of course, to the net!
Simona Halep: I get stressed with my hand when I’m around the net.
During the playing days, Justine Henin is known for the all-court style of play and notably being one of the few female players to use a single-handed backhand. Belgian also won seven Grand Slam titles and spent a total of 117 weeks as a WTA number one player.