Growing up, the most consistent player of WTA of the circuit Simona Halep idolized the seven-time Grand Slam champion, Justine Henin. The Belgian’s backhand was described as “best single-handed backhand in both the women’s or men’s game” by John McEnroe, and still, years after retiring from the tour, she’s revered for the same.
Like everyone else, Halep also fancied Henin’s accurate backhand. Sometimes, Simona was skeptical of becoming a tennis professional, due to her 5 feet 6 inches tall height. But when she discovered Henin was as tall as her, Halep continued to strike the ball harder and harder and in taking up tennis as a profession.
“It’s a pleasure to talk to my idol,” Halep said on Tennis Legends’ vodcast on the Eurosport website. “Because I was growing up actually copying her, I have to admit. First of all, we have the same height and I thought, I have a chance to do it. Even if I don’t have a one-handed backhand, I loved your backhand, Justine.”
Justine Henin and Simona Halep
The Romanian ace Halep tried adapting some of Henin’s moves. Simona is quite aggressive from the baseline and executes an intelligent play with power in her shots. After coming across her attacking style of play, Henin once said, “there is a little something that reminds me of myself… it is offensive and aggressive.”
Also, Halep’s defensive style and her exceptional court coverage are simply peerless in the women’s game.
“I have also copied the movement because she always had strong legs and she was playing very close to the baseline. I tried to copy that. It was not perfect because I was very far away from the baseline sometimes. But I had it in my mind and I knew it was the best thing to do when you are not very tall,” Halep continued.
World Number two Simona Halep lived her age-old dream last year by pulling off the Wimbledon title. She defeated seven-time champion, Serena Williams, in the championship match that lasted 56-minutes. Also, that match records the best performance in her career.