Great hope Halep - How far now?

How far will Simona Halep go at the 2014 USO?


  • Total voters
    84
Wuhan 2016 SF: Kvitova - Halep 6-1 6-2

Without minimizing or overlooking Kvitova's extraordinary form in this tournament,
and with regret, as I consider and defend Halep's talent and hands as outstanding,
hopefully leading to a #1 position, as this thread shows in its history,
I have to say that Simona Halep's woeful lack of plan B continued in this match, a story that is now at least 3 years old at this level:

- no slices to reduce the speed of the game
- no chip returns (a la Wawrinka) for same
- no drop shots to surprise the opponent
- no kick serves on the 2nd to take the opponent to the side
- no high, slow DTL topspin shots (see Federer, Pennetta), to reduce the speed and kill opponent's shoulder
- just one S-V incursion to destabilize Kvitova (and that one was ridiculously successful); surely, I'm not asking for full S-V for Halep, as the magnitude of her serve doesn't allow that yet, but as a variation that can't but help

She has all these shots, but she is clearly not training and executing them systematically. That is, openly speaking, bad preparation for winning the GSs.

Simona Halep plays one game: rally from the baseline, relatively hard, moderate topspin. As it was made obvious today, this is feeding the power players exactly what they need. This is only reducing the number of Grand Slam titles to which she might have a chance to win, and reducing the potential length of her career. We are only talking of competition at the highest level, because otherwise Halep has a great record in very important tournaments.

Further, the improvement in terms of serving is not enough.

I passed during the Roger's Cup in Montreal this note on serving to Darren Cahill, her coach. No, I do not know him, but I chose a break in the doubles game in which Halep and Niculescu were involved to hand it to him in the stands only with these words: "Mr. Cahill, this is something technical for you."

Now that I see that the progress in the serve has stalled, and I don't see my proposal adopted, I feel free from any confidentiality I initially wanted to pursue, and I am releasing here the contents of this note on serving, in the hope that it will be given further consideration and urgency. Worst case, it might help other players and coaches :confused:

____

Dear Simona,

Re: your serve

I watched here in Montreal your work on serve and have analyzed many Youtube clips, and while Mr. Cahill has enough body and shoulder rotation (his back to the net in the trophy stance, i.e. right before attacking the ball), in my opinion, you do not have (your back is perpendicular to the net). This has several undesirable effects:

- Reducing the available power

- Reducing the available spin, be it lateral or top

I’d strongly suggest you should consider a switch to the platform stance, best exemplified at:

The Sampras serve

Dynamic pic:
http://www.dono.com.cn/tujie/sampras01.htm
http://www.dono.com.cn/tujie/sampras02.htm
(be patient, site is slow)
(use the slider on the left of each picture to slow-motion)


A good analysis of it is here:
http://www.cwtennis.com/prostrokes.cfm
(check Serve, both Flash and non-Flash)


Justine Henin (who is about the same height as you are) used it, and got much more action/work/spin on the ball than you have, and close to 10 mph more. Madison Keys uses it, and Vesnina (an excellent, experienced returner) had a very hard time yesterday in returning it. Dominik Thiem also has a very effective platform serve.


The rocking motion implied by the platform stance is very beneficial in imparting more power, side and top ball rotation.


Things you need to improve, in my opinion, on serve, whether you go for platform or not:


- A higher ball trajectory. You’re going too flat, straight, and close to the net, which is a risky approach, leading to m any errors.

- A more low-to-high action at contact that will help in establishing that high trajectory. You're going too much high to low. Again, risky.

- Your head should be much more leaning back, practically horizontal from the neck, and looking at the sky (please check Sampras at the Chinese site above). This again is recommended for the higher trajectory, facilitating the brushing up action on the back of the ball.

- Your hip should be leaning much more into the court in the trophy position (Madison is quite good in this respect). This will help your balance and your body’s rotation.

- Your back should be facing the net or you don’t have enough body-shoulder rotation. This is a clear indicator.

- Considerably more knee flex and leg action (see Thiem) is required.

- You need to use much more the Kick serve (the platform stance will help).


A high ball trajectory, besides a better margin for error, helps in surprising the receiver, as the ball is going up at contact, travels higher, and is brought down in the target area much later. Of course, a strong pronation of the forearm in the follow through (which you seem not to add to a sufficient extent) is necessary to bring the ball down.


Of course, you decide for yourself, these are only suggestions.

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes for the Grand Slams.


Marius Hancu
____

If Justine Henin, at a similar body size, felt it necessary to adopt the ATP forehand and the platform serve to counteract the power players, I see no recourse for Simona Halep but to do the same.
 
Last edited:

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Wuhan 2016 SF: Kvitova - Halep 6-1 6-2

Without minimizing or overlooking Kvitova's extraordinary form in this tournament,
and with regret, as I consider and defend Halep's talent and hands as outstanding,
hopefully leading to a #1 position, as this thread shows in its history,
I have to say that Simona Halep's woeful lack of plan B continued in this match, a story that is now at least 3 years old at this level:

- no slices to reduce the speed of the game
- no chip returns (a la Wawrinka) for same
- no drop shots to surprise the opponent
- no kick serves on the 2nd to take the opponent to the side
- no high, slow DTL topspin shots (see Federer, Pennetta), to reduce the speed and kill opponent's shoulder
- just one S-V incursion to destabilize Kvitova (and that one was ridiculously successful); surely, I'm not asking for full S-V for Halep, as the magnitude of her serve doesn't allow that yet, but as a variation that can't but help

She has all these shots, but she is clearly not training and executing them systematically. That is, openly speaking, bad preparation for winning the GSs.

Simona Halep plays one game: rally from the baseline, relatively hard, moderate topspin. As it was made obvious today, this is feeding the power players exactly what they need. This is only reducing the number of Grand Slam titles to which she might have a chance to win, and reducing the potential length of her career. We are only talking of competition at the highest level, because otherwise Halep has a great record in very important tournaments.

Further, the improvement in terms of serving is not enough.

I passed during the Roger's Cup in Montreal this note on serving to Darren Cahill, her coach. No, I do not know him, but I chose a break in the doubles game in which Halep and Niculescu were involved to hand it to him in the stands only with these words: "Mr. Cahill, this is something technical for you."

Now that I see that the progress in the serve has stalled, and I don't see my proposal adopted, I feel free from any confidentiality I initially wanted to pursue, and I am releasing here the contents of this note on serving, in the hope that it will be given further consideration and urgency. Worst case, it might help other players and coaches :confused:

____

Dear Simona,

Re: your serve

I watched here in Montreal your work on serve and have analyzed many Youtube clips, and while Mr. Cahill has enough body and shoulder rotation (his back to the net in the trophy stance, i.e. right before attacking the ball), in my opinion, you do not have (your back is perpendicular to the net). This has several undesirable effects:

- Reducing the available power

- Reducing the available spin, be it lateral or top

I’d strongly suggest you should consider a switch to the platform stance, best exemplified at:

The Sampras serve

Dynamic pic:
http://www.dono.com.cn/tujie/sampras01.htm
http://www.dono.com.cn/tujie/sampras02.htm
(be patient, site is slow)
(use the slider on the left of each picture to slow-motion)


A good analysis of it is here:
http://www.cwtennis.com/prostrokes.cfm
(check Serve, both Flash and non-Flash)


Justin Henin (who is about the same height as you are) used it, and got much more action/work/spin on the ball than you have, and close to 10 mph more. Madison Keys uses it, and Vesnina (an excellent, experienced returner) had a very hard time yesterday in returning it. Dominik Thiem also has a very effective platform serve.


The rocking motion implied by the platform stance is very beneficial in imparting more power, side and top ball rotation.


Things you need to improve, in my opinion, on serve, whether you go for platform or not:


- A higher ball trajectory. You’re going too flat, straight, and close to the net, which is a risky approach, leading to m any errors.

- A more low-to-high action at contact that will help in establishing that high trajectory. You're going too much high to low. Again, risky.

- Your head should be much more leaning back, practically horizontal from the neck, and looking at the sky (please check Sampras at the Chinese site above). This again is recommended for the higher trajectory, facilitating the brushing up action on the back of the ball.

- Your hip should be leaning much more into the court in the trophy position (Madison is quite good in this respect). This will help your balance and your body’s rotation.

- Your back should be facing the net or you don’t have enough body-shoulder rotation. This is a clear indicator.

- Considerably more knee flex and leg action (see Thiem) is required.

- You need to use much more the Kick serve (the platform stance will help).


A high ball trajectory, besides a better margin for error, helps in surprising the receiver, as the ball is going up at contact, travels higher, and is brought down in the target area much later. Of course, a strong pronation of the forearm in the follow through (which you seem not to add to a sufficient extent) is necessary to bring the ball down.


Of course, you decide for yourself, these are only suggestions.

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes for the Grand Slams.


Marius Hancu
____

If Justine Henin, at a similar body size, felt it necessary to adopt the ATP forehand and the platform serve to counteract the power players, I see no recourse for Simona Halep but to do the same.
Oh brother Marius! Handing notes to Darren Cahill now? Get a grip buddy. :rolleyes:
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
I doubt those notes will help her. She isn't a special talent, that's pretty much it.
Can you imagine the wackos these players/coaches encounter, i.e. obsessed fans who want to try and recreate an entire player. Marius thinks Halep could be a talent like Henin through some of his invaluable coaching. Halep should dump Cahill stat and hire Marius! :rolleyes:

As for Halep, I do think she's obviously talented and I thought she had a good chance to make the final of this USO and even had a decent chance to beat Serena but whenever she gets these big chances at the slams, she fails. I'm not sure she has what it takes (game-wise and mentally) to win a slam, that's the bottom line. Kerber stepped up where Halep should have done so many times. Because the field is currently so weak Halep may be able to sneak a slam in but how many chances does she need? :confused:
 
Halep is a very good player and can possibly win a slam or two before she hangs it up. She has room for improvement like every other player, but, at what point do we say it is what it is. I'm not so sure she will ever be that dominate number 1 in the world type of player. It's one thing to recognize the key areas where improvement is needed, it's another thing to actually fix those problems and implement them in match play. There are so many players who are just a little tweak here and there away from being a consistent dominant force and most of them will retire slam less.
 
Halep is a very good player and can possibly win a slam or two before she hangs it up. She has room for improvement like every other player, but, at what point do we say it is what it is. I'm not so sure she will ever be that dominate number 1 in the world type of player. It's one thing to recognize the key areas where improvement is needed, it's another thing to actually fix those problems and implement them in match play. There are so many players who are just a little tweak here and there away from being a consistent dominant force and most of them will retire slam less.
I agree. I would be happy enough is she managed to win one Slam in her career. But I don't expect her to ever dominate the women's game. Chang was number 2 in the world for years and only managed to win that very first Slam final he competed in. It ain't easy for the shorter players.
 
Singapore 2016, RR vs Keys

Comfortable win for Halep.

Simona Halep: more of a killing instinct, just very solid, no new elements. No slice, no dropshots, no volleys. Both her and Cahill seem to be betting this might be enough against this crop of players. We'll just have to see.

Keys was poorly served by Hogstedt who didn't tell her to flex those knees. She was way too high all the time, lacking flexibility, like the younger Raonic or Cilic once were. Long ankles? You have to hugely fight with yourself to get lower, to have a different point of view on the ball, and to be able to ask your quads to contribute to the topspin required to bring the ball in. The way she's now, she's out of control - against the best, of course.

 
Last edited:
Ion Tiriac on Halep
----
[In Romanian]
"Sigur ca ar putea castiga Turneul Campioanelor. Putea sa-l castige si acum doi ani, daca era putin mai norocoasa, concentrata sau dedicata. Are toate calitatile din lumea asta. Trebuie sa o rupa la un moment dat cu Serena, cu Kerber, care e o jucatoare nomala, fara nimic excelent in ea.

In momentul in care stii cine esti, stii ca poti sa dai 20 de mingi inapoi. Tenisul nu se castiga azi pe puncte castigate, ci pe punctele pierdute de adversar. Simona alearga foarte bine, poate sa faca progrese enorme in miscare si poate sa joace cum vrea ea. Dar, deocamdata, face "buf" fara niciun fel de ratiune a doua zi dupa ce castiga 6-1, 6-0. E mare pacat. Din pacate, de multe ori, pierde nejustificat"
---
[In English, my rough version]
Surely she is able to win the WTA Finals. She could have won it even two years ago, had she been a bit more lucky, concentrated or dedicated. She has all the qualities. [But] She needs to make a [mental] break from Serena, from Kerber, who is a normal player, without anything excellent to her.

When you know who you are, you know you can return 20 balls. You don't win in tennis today based on winners, but on points lost by your opponent. Simona runs very well, she can still make enormous progress in terms of movement and can play the way she wants. But for now, she stumbles for no reason in the world the day after winning 6-1 6-0. It's really pity. Unfortunately, many times, she loses without any justification."
---
 
Last edited:
I'm thinking you should tweet Cahill again. I mean, it went swimmingly before. Seriously, they might actually give a sh*t about you now. Keep trying, Hancu.
 
Hello, everyone,

Simona Halep's push for WTA Finals, Grand Slams and #1 - and I am convinced she has the talent and the shots for all, but she is not training the required variety, simply not preparing properly, to speak openly - has been unfortunately undermined, hamstrung, by years of less-than-optimal development and strategic perspective, and this continues to this day, for in spite of an admirable effort in today's match:

Today, Simona was not physically ready, she was, like many times in recent tournaments, injured. I recommended going to Pierre Paganini (Federer's trainer), as long term he has brought Federer to great form, to over 55 GSs in a row in terms of participation, and healthy. That has not been done.

Today, and as usual, Simona fed Cibulkova a steady diet of topspin balls, exactly what Cibulkova likes. Even more, until too late, she allowed her opponent the initiative in terms of taking the ball on the rise, she staying too far back. Hello?

Today, Simona didn't have variety: no slice. That could have been crucial in taking Cibulkova off her rhythm. Hello?

Today Simona did not take the initiative at the net, by attempting only rarely to come there. Again, that could have been crucial in taking Cibulkova off her rhythm. Hello? Yes, I know she was injured, but those extended and repeated left-right baseline runs were even more taxing.

Today, Simona did not really use effectively the dropshots. Hello?

Today, Simona's serve was only slightly better than at the beginning of the year, but not to the extent she is capable of. Think about it: Henin at a comparable height had 117 mph, Simona 108. But Henin had a full shoulder-torso-body rotation, brought about by using Sampras's and Federer's platform stance. And be on standby on this one.

Today, Simona's forehand could have benefitted from a full conversion to the ATP style of forehand, to which Henin switched in order to beat the big girls - and Henin managed to do so. Hello?

Thus, when great titles, glory, and millions are lost - including for coaching - it bears repeating what I have been saying for three years now, and I repeated in July 2015:

Personally, if I were Halep, with all great results (including on the financial side), which I'd be blind not to see and appreciate, I'd change coaches right now, as I honestly don't see any progress on the crucial technical and strategical side this year:

- STILL no slice

- STILL no volley, no occasional S-V

- not enough dropshots

- STILL no plan B to speak of

- STILL no better serve (just a marginal change)

- STILL no better conditioning

P.S. And yes, she needs a mental coach/psychologist for more clarity of purpose and general winning attitude.
 
Last edited:

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Right on cue with the excuses Hancu! :rolleyes: You're betting on a losing horse, that's the problem. Halep is a great top 5-10 player but she's missing that "certain something" to take her to the next level IMO.

Halep is injured every other week it seems. Is she the Nishikori of the WTA?
 
Last edited:
Right on cue with the excuses Hancu! :rolleyes: You're betting on a losing horse, that's the problem. Halep is a great top 5-10 player but she's missing that "certain something" to take her to the next level IMO.
The same could have been said one year ago about Kerber :cool:
Tiriac said it well (see above): Kerber's not extraordinary. Just doing extremely well with what she has.

Also, I'm not excusing anything. On the contrary.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
The same could have been said one year ago about Kerber :cool:
Tiriac said it well (see above): Kerber's not extraordinary. Just doing extremely well with what she has.

Also, I'm not excusing anything. On the contrary.
Tiriac is a little biased given that he's Romanian like Halep don't you think? ;)
 
To be honest, he's [Tiriac] one of her fiercest critics as well.
Right on.

In a continuation of what he said just days ago, Ion Tiriac just came back today with the most authoritative and ringing indirect endorsement I could have asked for for my stating on her for 3 years now [1] [2] up this thread and elsewhere:

Simona Halep is not prepared and preparing as she should for #1 and for the GSs.

She is prepared for top 10 and the millions coming with it, all of which she fully deserves, but not for the absolute sports-performance peak represented by those lofty achievements - #1 and for the GSs. Going at it the way she has been doing during these years, she might still end up there, but more by accident, and for shorter periods than she could achieve within an appropriate program. I believe in her, but time is passing.

Ion Tiriac on Simona Halep
----
[In Romanian]
"Dupa parerea mea, Halep, numarul 1 in lume astazi, e o gluma. La talentul pe care il are, ar trebui sa faca antrenament vreo 4-5 ore pe zi. Nu merge asa. Eu, ca antrenor, sunt foarte ingamfat. Dar eu, n-am facut niciun antrenament de mai putin de 4 ore. Guillermo Vilas facea antrenament de 8 ore in fiecare zi."
---
[In English, my rough version]
"In my opinion, [to talk about] Halep at #1, today, that's a joke. At her talent, she should be training for something like 4-5 hours a day. The way things are now, it's a no go. I, as a coach, I am very full of myself. But I [as a coach and/or a player] never had a training session of less than 4 hours. Guillermo Vilas [whom Tiriac has coached and managed] was training 8 hours each and every day."
---

And, of course, the responsibility for the present situation of lack of real growth lies both with Simona and with her successive Teams.
 
Last edited:
Right on.

Ion Tiriac just came back today with the most authoritative and ringing indirect endorsement I could have asked for for my stating on her for 3 years now up this thread and elsewhere:

Simona Halep is not prepared and preparing as she should for #1 and for the GSs.

She is prepared for top 10 and the millions coming with it, all of which she fully deserves, but not for the absolute peak represented by those lofty achievements - #1 and for the GSs. Going at it the way she has been doing during these years, she might still end up there, but more by accident, and for shorter periods that she could achieve within an appropriate program. I believe in her, but time is passing.

Ion Tiriac on Simona Halep
----
[In Romanian]
"Dupa parerea mea, Halep, numarul 1 in lume astazi, e o gluma. La talentul pe care il are, ar trebui sa faca antrenament vreo 4-5 ore pe zi. Nu merge asa. Eu, ca antrenor, sunt foarte ingamfat. Dar eu, n-am facut niciun antrenament de mai putin de 4 ore. Guillermo Vilas facea antrenament de 8 ore in fiecare zi."
---
[In English, my rough version]
"In my opinion, [to talk about] Halep at #1, today, that's a joke. At her talent, she should be training for something like 4-5 hours a day. The way things are now, it's a no go. I, as a coach, I am very full of myself. But I [as a coach and/or a player] never had a training session of less than 4 hours. Guillermo Vilas [whom Tiriac has coached and managed] was training 8 hours each and every day."
---
I think talking about number 1 and winning the elusive Slam might actually be the wrong way to go with Simona. Every second word that comes out of her coach's mouth is "Slam", to the point where it's feeding into her own insecurity of not being able to win one. She's much better when she plays with no pressure (or a reduced level of pressure), like that first (and only) time she reached a major final. I could see her closer to winning a Slam during a comeback (when she's 50 in the world or something) than while in the top 5. She's closer to an Agassi mindset than to a Sampras mindset. You can't really transform a player completely. All you can do is emphasize their strengths and try to minimize their weaknesses.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
I think talking about number 1 and winning the elusive Slam might actually be the wrong way to go with Simona. Every second word that comes out of her coach's mouth is "Slam", to the point where it's feeding into her own insecurity of not being able to win one. She's much better when she plays with no pressure (or a reduced level of pressure), like that first (and only) time she reached a major final. I could see her closer to winning a Slam during a comeback (when she's 50 in the world or something) than while in the top 5. She's closer to an Agassi mindset than to a Sampras mindset. You can't really transform a player completely. All you can do is emphasize their strengths and try to minimize their weaknesses.
?? You mean the Agassi who won 8 slams including the Career Golden Slam? Halep wishes she had an Agassi mindset or Agassi's talent.
 
?? You mean the Agassi who won 8 slams including the Career Golden Slam? Halep wishes she had an Agassi mindset or Agassi's talent.
I made the comparison very carefully to avoid exactly this kind of reply. I guess it was unsuccessful. Yes, I think for her to perform well she needs to approach the game the way Agassi maximized his talent rather than the way in which Sampras maximized his innate strengths. I'm obviously not saying Halep is a female Agassi. But, like him, she doesn't have the kind of game or mindset to dominate the game and make 5-year plans in which a certain amount of Slams will be won and a certain amount of weeks at number one will be achieved. She's a confidence player and also a player who strives playing against the odds (not within a match necessarily but in the context of a career). I feel Cahill is giving her the wrong type of fuel. But I could be wrong.
 
----
(CNN) If it wasn't for a Romanian shipping tycoon, Simona Halep may never have become one of the world's best tennis players.

Growing up in the Black Sea town of Constanta, Halep was in need of international competition to advance her tennis career.

Corneliu Idu came to the 14-year-old's rescue -- and she has gone on to reach the 2014 French Open final, and climb as high as No. 2 in the rankings.

"It was incredibly expensive, I only had my parents as support and no sponsors," Halep said in an interview at this month's Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in central China.

Underfunded
Unlike the four grand slam nations, whose wealthy tennis federations all have funding programs for young players, there was no financial support for the Haleps from the underfunded Romanian tennis association.

Idu, one of the wealthiest men in Constanta, was the owner of the Tenis Club Idu, where Halep played.
His money helped her enter events on the European junior circuit for two years up to the age of 16.
"That was it, I didn't have any other sponsors," said Halep, now 25. "My parents did their best to get me to where I am today, but it was good for us we had that help."

With Novak Djokovic this year becoming the first man to earn more than $100 million in prize money and Serena Williams the world's best-paid female athlete with close to $29 million in total annual earnings, according to Forbes, it's easy to think tennis is a highly-profitable sport.

Expensive
Although Idu's bet on Halep worked out well -- she is now ranked fourth in the world and has made more than $11 million in prize money -- the cost of becoming a tennis pro can be prohibitively expensive.

Developing a player from the age of 5 to 18 can cost around $306,402 (£250,000) according to the British Lawn Tennis Association. This makes support from parents, sponsors, investors or national federations increasingly important -- and puts kids under more pressure to perform.
----
 
Good start but not fantastic: no new elements. Peng is out, which is good. Babos and Konta are good tests.

Flaky in the 2nd set.

Bit more power, more aggressive on short balls. Served on T quite accurately and speedy, but I have no speed numbers.

Says first time she has been training for longer than 2-3 days non stop. Imagine the reserves :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:
L. to Siniakova in Shenzen.
Not confirming yet her talk and Cahill's on a best preparation this year.

To be evaluated again after AO, but a SF there seems already a great result.
 
In the presser she mentioned that:

- since Singapore she has had left knee tendonitis (Nadal seems to have had it)

- it was quite light in Romania, during the offseason

- it was quite bad in Shenzen, then in Australia, esp today after 5-3 for Rogers

- it's pressure dependent

- Rogers played quite well

- she needs an MRI, physio, and probably a serious break
 
Last edited:
I am convinced Halep has to replace Darren Cahill. They may be great friends, but it is not working out...the results are just not there.
I said Cahill was a bad choice. His "strategies" for being a world dominator were laughable. Halep is an inexplicably unstable place, and i'm not sure how she can regroup to not have a disaster like this 1st round.
 
TBF to Halep, if she's indeed seriously injured, that casts a new light on her defeat. Unless of course the injury is the byproduct of an improper training regimen.
Problem was, until 5-3 for Rogers in the 1st, when Halep says pain started on that day, she didn't show any progress wrt 2 or 1 years ago.

And yes, she should take utmost care of her body. Based on what she says about her previous pains, I'm saying she should not have played.
 
Last edited:
Top