Here’s how Rafa inspired Simona Halep

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Simona Halep’s coach Darren Cahill said Rafael Nadal has been a big motivator in the work ethic for the Romanian player:

Rafa has inspired her with what he’s been able to do, with the way he trains, with his work ethic, the way he fights for every single match no matter what the score is. He can be down 6-Love, 5-Love, 40-Love. You wouldn’t even be able to tell with him.

That, to me, is what she’s modeled the last year and a half on. No one’s going to be like Rafa. But you see a little bit of the old Simona compared to the new Simona, and she’s more like that, because she’s always had a great work ethic.

I have never had to push her on the practice court. She always gives 100%. She’s like a little Rafa on the practice court. We need to make her a little Rafa on the match court, as well.

It’s nice that her two victories, the one she had in Paris and the one she had last week [in Montreal], both coincided — we spoke about this after the match — coincided with Nadal doing exactly the same. It’s been pretty cool, actually.

Source: WTA

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41 thoughts on “Here’s how Rafa inspired Simona Halep

  1. Margo

    US OPEN FUN FACTS

    Rafa could be the second player to defend his title in the 21st century.

    No male winner has won the title without having dropped a set, in the open era.

    The 2018 US OPEN will be the last Grand Slam to have 32 seeds, starting in 2019 a 16 seeding will be in place.

    Stan will play as a wildcard.

    The only major where a tiebreak at 6-6 [for singles] will be played in the deciding set.

    GOOD LUCK RAFA

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  2. Margo

    When it comes to any tennis tournament–from Grand Slams down to the Futures level–in general the better your seed, the better your draw.

    But there may be no safe haven anywhere in the 2018 U.S. Open men’s singles bracket, perhaps not even for the top eight seeds. That’s because the unseeded contingent at this year’s event features some big names, plus the 25-32 seed group is especially daunting.

    Leading the unseeded charge are three-time Grand Slam champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. Also arriving in New York City without a seed are Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey, Andrey Rublev, Gael Monfils, Frances Tiafoe, Alex de Minaur, and Mischa Zverev. Those guys, of course, could face anyone–anyone–in the first round of the U.S. Open.

    As for the 25-32 seeds, they will be on course to run into the 1-8 seeds during third-round action. That could spell more first-week trouble for the top players in the world.

    Let’s take a look at the lowest–but not necessarily worst–seeding group, in order from most dangerous to least dangerous:

    30) Nick Kyrgios – Kyrgios probably can’t stay healthy enough in his current fragile state to make a serious run at Flushing Meadows. But if he can get through two matches with little trouble, he may have enough left in the tank to challenge a top-ranked foe in the third round.

    25) Milos Raonic – Like Kyrgios, Raonic can quite simply take the racket out an opponent’s hands. When the Canadian is serving well, especially on a relatively fast hard court, he can beat anyone in the world. Raonic advanced to quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the Cincinnati Masters.

    27) Karen Khachanov – Khachanov’s forehand is somewhat quirky, but it is perhaps the biggest among the sport’s up-and-coming stars. It recently carried the 22-year-old Russian to the Toronto semifinals (lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal 7-6(3), 6-4) and to the Cincinnati third round.

    28) Denis Shapovalov – This is Shapovalov’s favorite time of year. He made a run to the Rogers Cup semis last summer and reached the U.S. Open fourth round as a qualifier. The 19-year-old Canadian has advanced to consecutive third rounds in Washington, D.C., Toronto, and Cincinnati.

    31) Fernando Verdasco – Although there is a steep drop-off following the first four players in this group, Verdasco cannot be completely discounted at 34 years old. The Spaniard played a great match against Grigor Dimitrov in Toronto (lost 7-6 in the third) and has reached the fourth round of a major in each of the past two seasons.

    26) Richard Gasquet – Gasquet’s talent is undeniable and his backhand can be one of the best in the game when it’s on, but he is past his prime at 32 years old. The Frenchman went back to clay following Wimbledon and has played only one match on hard courts this summer.

    29) Adrian Mannarino – Mannarino wields an unorthodox, change-of-pace style that almost always troubles players ranked below him, but he rarely picks up big wins over top-tier opponents. The Frenchman owns four career top-10 victories (Wawrinka, Raonic, Marin Cilic, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).

    32) Filip Krajinovic – Krajinovic has no business being seeded, in part due to injuries and also because…well, just because. The 26-year-old Serb, whose ranking is inflated by a Paris runner-up last fall, has not won a single match since the Miami Masters in March.
    [SOURCE: TheGrandstand-Ricky]

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  3. Dallas in Wisconsin USA

    I just got an email from the Laver Cup announcing that Kyle Edmund was the final member of Team Europe. I wish Rafa the best in the Davis Cup, but am so sad that I won’t get to watch him in person in Chicago. My consolation will be watching him on TV as he goes far in the US Open. Vamos Rafa!

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    1. Susie

      Dallas im so sorry you wont get to see Rafa in the Laver Cup. I went to Prague last year and saw him at the Laver cup there and would have been gutted if he had not been playing as that was the only reason i went. If you have tickets though – please go despite Rafa not being there as its a great tournament with a great team feeling about it. You will enjoy it I promise.

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      1. Dallas in Wisconsin USA

        Hi Susie. Like you, my only reason for going was to see Rafa. My family has tickets for all 5 sessions so we are definitely still going. You will recognize me on TV because I’ll be wearing my Rafa t-shirts!

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      2. Susie

        Excellent Dallas. I did all 5 sessions and it was tough going. Make sure you get your breaks. You will have a good time and i will defo look out for you.

        Like

  4. Alex

    Hi Rafans,

    I just managed to watch the Cincinnati Final on catch-up, and have read the various comments on the significance of Djoker’s win. I understand why this apparent return to form seems threatening. But truthfully, I do not feel worried, and I do not think there will be another Djoker tear through the titles.

    Most importantly: things feel different for Rafa. We are seeing him in a new light. It feels like he has turned a corner mentally. His appreciation that he really does not need to play every tournament to do well – that his talent and experience are more powerful than he realised – seems significant to me. Witness his excellent performance at Australian Open, Davis Cup, Wimbledon, Toronto… All tournaments where he lacked the prior match practice he would usually have insisted on. I think we are seeing a new belief in himself, a sense that things can happen in any tournament now. It seems he is challenging his most restrictive mental habits.

    Relatedly, Rafa knows he is in the autumn of his career. I think he is playing for the love of it now. Of course he still wants to win – that is his nature – but I think there is an enjoyment and experimentation which is as much for the appreciation of tennis and his improvement, as it is for results. He wants to become a better player, to try new things and grow while he can – and if winning comes from that, so much the better.

    On Djokovic: he is erratic. He can be tested, and beaten, by lesser players than Rafa. True, Rafa finds the Djokovic match-up hard, but that has always been the case. Since Djoker was last dominant, Rafa has been working on his game, getting important results, and building confidence. Djoker has not come back to the same Rafa. His performance against Djoker in Wimbledon was really empowering. I sincerely believe he would have won if not for the indoor conditions. I think they both know that too. Djokovic is not a new problem, and he’s not a solved problem; I just don’t think he is any more of a problem now than he was before. Expect Rafa to lose to Djoker. Expect Djoker to lose to Rafa. The seesaw will continue.

    On Roger: he played really badly in the Cinci Final. I was surprised. Something is up with him. On his Australian Open form, he could have taken Djoker in that Final. I think Roger will go away and try to fix things. If successful, I think he will be the bigger threat to Rafa at the US Open.

    On other players: the new gen are rising and soon the kings will find it hard to maintain their dominance. I don’t think a Djoker tear is possible within the wider landscape.

    With all that said, I will be happy and excited to watch Rafa for as long as he is having fun on court. He is too good not to win some more. But I won’t be watching in expectation of that. Tennis is unpredictable, so I try not to get my hopes up or down.

    Please take my subjective opinions with a pinch of salt 🙂 I just thought I’d share the positive vibes. I feel Rafa is in a good place.

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    1. Mac

      My thoughts exactly Alex!

      Rafa is just fine wherever he is right now, and I have great feelings about this US Open:) Can’t wait for it to start.

      Like

  5. Rafa fan 1

    Maria (snake island) fine that’s your opinion and probably many other’s too. But even if Djo wins and goes ahead of the others, I for one would never consider him to be the goat. Actually I think this GOAT is ridiculous especially if it’s calculated by number of GS and wins. One has to compare plenty of facts and one has to compare an apple with an apple and not a pear for example. I’ve always referred to the greats as one of the greatest.
    Opinions differ so each to his own!

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  6. Rafa fan 1

    Somehow I knew djoko was going to win – so didn’t watch! What Rafa has to do other than watch Djokovic’s game etc. He had to prepare mentally. U all may laught at me but djo has a mental coach if I’m not mistaken. He does affirmations etc. and some years ago his wife too said that they do it. He’s extremely strong mentally and victory thirsty. If he even senses any weakness in his opponent – even a slight dip in form or belief he pounces and runs them over. His self belief is tremendous, huge and unfortunately so is his ego. Disgusting! I definitely would’ve preferred roger to win.

    Rafa you are sooooo good! Prepare well and teach some people a good lesson.
    Love you!!

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    1. Maria (Snake Island)

      Dear Rafa Fan 1,

      Unfortunately Rafa may not be able to teach anybody some good lesson. You can only give what you have ain’t it?

      If we really look at the top of the men’s game very well and we’re truthful to ourselves, it will be come easy, very easy for all of us to unanimously agree on the followings about Rafa, Roger and Novak:

      1. While Roger is just fractionally better than Novak, Novak is also by some fractions better than Rafa.
      2. Rafa has a poor court coverage which comes to fore whenever he plays Djokovic. Remarkably, Diego Schwartzmann also exposes this flaw anytime he meets Rafa.
      3. Novak’s only weakness appears to be his ”Strength” which also explains why he is so difficult to beat. By ”strength”, I mean, Djokovic’s winning tactics is to always win the 1st set. usually when he cannot or it seems that this will not be possible, he can become so dejected and frustrated. Opponents can thus explore this to try to win. But it’s never easy to win against Djokovic, is it?
      4. Another strategy to dominate or win against Djokovic was revealed to us by Nick Kyrgios who currently is 2- 0 against Djokovic. He was able to achieve this with superb, first-class serving. But how many people can do this?

      PREDICTION – I DO NOT SEE ANYTHING OR ANYONE STOPPING DJOKOVIC FROM WINNING THE 2018 US OPEN AND ALL THE GRAND SLAMS OF 2019

      Yes, You heard me right, ALL the GRAND SLAMS OF 2018 – including the French Open to truly and irrevocably become the GOAT.

      Like

      1. Margo

        Even if Novak stays healthy, don’t you think all 4 Slams of 2019 is pushing it?

        Coming from someone who has steadfastly learned, and keeps learning, everything about Rafa that I can, in addition to his stellar playing record, I would never discount Rafa. He is the embodiment of a champion and inarguably continues to surprise and amaze millions around the world.

        RAFAMAZING ROCKS

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    2. Margo

      I do know that Novak meditates to lose fear and stress and said it helps him in a tremendously positive way.

      Rafa suffers from anxiety and nervousness when confronted with a very strong opponent, or one who he can’t figure out, or one who has beaten him in the past. I also think he lacks self confidence not only on court but in other situations too. In too many of his pressers he seems to need to assure himself of how good he is by mentioning his past injuries after he has won a match or a tournament. Part of this may, I say may, have to do with Toni teaching Rafa it’s not enough to be good. You have to be better than the rest.

      Half of the battle, or more, is won with a self confident Rafa.

      RAFA ROCKS

      Like

  7. Amberoxx

    Rafa shud see the match of djkr vs FedEx, to know their strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly..moya shud make multiple game plans to beat dem if one doesn’t work.

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  8. Lorna

    Even if you’re not a fan of Novak the Wall, you’ve got to respect his gutsy play and his control of rallies from the back of the court. Rafa has his work cut out to retain his US Open title with Novak in the ascendency. Let’s hope that Novak is in Roger’s half of the draw!

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  9. Maria(England)

    Yuk! The ego has taken the title, can’t help thinking the victory for Nole is more about beating Roger or Rafa than it is lifting the trophy 😣

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    1. Maria (Snake Island)

      Unfortunately Yes, Maria.

      Nothing gives Novak more joy than beating Roger and Rafa, especially Rafa (whose style is just easy meat to Djokovic’s)

      Hmmn….

      Like

  10. mjus

    congratulations novak you made history. Nadal only has three remain Sjanghai, Paris and Miami. He has the chance to win at least one of them. And with the help perhaps of other players he can win both of them

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    1. Margo

      I won’t congratulate Novak but great you saw the bigger picture regarding this specific Masters.

      Even though Hamburg is no longer a Masters event, Rafa won it in 2008 when it was part of the ATP Masters 1000 Series. Depending on when he retires, Rafa still has time to win the three he is missing.

      RAFA ROCKS

      Like

  11. Margo

    I am looking at the bigger picture. It’s not about beating Djokovic, it’s about denying Djokovic the trophy from the ONLY Masters 1000 he’s never won.

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  12. mjus

    roger is playing terrible he is going to lose against djokovic. I think nole is teaching nadal on how to beat federer and he should take a lesson from him. Returning deep and serving well. Nadal can achieve this also. He only has three masters serie tournaments left that he still has not won. Sjanghai, Paris and Miami. I hope that nadal can win this year at least one of them

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  13. Maria(England)

    Mr Bean has taken the first set, and even removed his cap where his head is expanding with his big ego, come on Roger thrash him for cheating Rafa out of his Wimbledon title

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    1. Mac

      Ugh. If anyone can do this, it’s Roger. Djoker needs to be brought down a peg. Anyhow I have no doubt that at the US Open Rafa will wipe the floor with him.

      I’m just happy Rafa has stayed out of this dogfight:) May the best man win tonight (ugh and eew if it’s Djoker) but our Rafa has his eyes on the big prize down the road.

      Like

  14. Mac

    So! Anyone else going to watch Novak vs Roger? I think it’s amazing that these same guys are still the ones fighting for ‘the important things’ as Rafa would say:)

    Personally, I’d rather have Roger win. I can’t deal with Novak’s ‘thingy’ right now.

    All in for Halep though! I hope she grabs the women’s title and goes on to take the US Open.

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    1. Susie

      Not watching it Mac but like you I’d like Roger to thrash Novak – can’t have him oozing with confidence just before the US Open. Plus dont think I can deal with his “thingy” right now either.

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      1. Maria(England)

        Hi Susie and Mac I’m with you both , I hope Roger thrashes Novak , sorry but I just can’t stand Novak , I am watching the match and Novak has just broke Roger, I hate to think this but Novak is well on his way to bring at his best again and then there be no stopping him 😥

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  15. Margo

    Darren Cahill also emphasized the importance of a psychologist in modern tennis. “The sport in general has changed a lot in the last 15 or 20 years…..social media, the money, the pressures.”

    “Alexis [Castorri] has been really important for Simona the last couple of years. … In my era you had to suck it up and be tough. Now I think players are turning over every stone and making sure they are professional.”

    “I think the beauty with her is that she’s always treated both the wins and the losses the same way. She doesn’t get overly carried away with the wins and she has great respect for the losses and her opponents. I think that’s one of the great things that I really admire about her, as well, just like the way Sloane [Stephens] has handled the last couple of matches. …the after-match speeches and the way she’s handled those losses.”

    Simona’s manager, Ion Tiriac, said, “A big part of her is that she will die on the court if she has to, a bit like Rafael Nadal.”
    [Sources: Telegraph, Luigi Gatto of TennisWorldUSA]

    Castorri is also credited with helping Lendl, Andy, and Anderson to the Wimbledon final.

    RAFA ROCKS SIMONA

    Like

  16. Elaine Crowder

    Rafa you would make a wonderful coach getting the students to follow through what you do,and have your work ethic and determination.

    Love and prayers for your rest between your rest and relaxation and the USO.

    Love and prayers,

    AlaineXXSydneyXXAustraliaXX

    Like

  17. Jean Palmer

    Not at all surprised that Rafa has inspired Simona Halep. They are two of a unique kind . Both have the rare ability to concentrate on perfecting their game without trashing other players . Every happiness to them both.
    Jean Palmer, Winnipeg, Canada.

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  18. Helen

    Now that’s what a tennis player should do. Inspire and helps other and not just thinking about themselves. Rafa is one amazing guy. Good for him for winning Toronto. Now he will be rested up for the US Open to defend his title.
    VAMOS RAFA. You are No. 1 in the world

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  19. Ana Maria the BIGGEST FAN 🎾❤️👍😘

    Rafa never gives up.Keep up the great work Rafa ,you are the best player vamosssssssssssss champ you can do it,🎾🎾🎾🎾❤️❤️❤️❤️👍👍👍👍😘😘😘😘❤️

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  20. Just remember Rafa doesn’t go to the Practice Court he goes to Improve so it’s really an Improvement Court he goes to. He goes to see how he can make the shot better or a new spin on it to take the opponent by surprise and he Celebrates every single point. He never gives up . keep up the great work. Rafa Rules and so can you on the women’s court

    Like

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