Hua Hin - The coach of world No 1 Simona Halep Darren Cahill believed the Romanian would have a Major breakthrough this year with Roland Garros as her favourite to win among the four Grand Slams.
The former world No 22 Australian is in Hua Hin with the Romanian for a tennis exhibition which she is using to tune herself up for the opening Major in 2018 due in the second fortnight of January.
The 26-year-old came close at winning a Major twice by reaching the finals at Roland Garros in 2014 and 2017. In fact she was up a set and a break during the final with Jelena Ostapenko in June but came short in the end, which raised questions if the current world No 1 would have it takes to hold a Grand Slam trophy. Cahill who has been in the Halep’s camp for three years, is confident his protégé has the potential.
“You can’t be No 1 in the world and reach finals in a Major without the capability of winning a Major. It’s a matter of continuing the hard work and doing the right things day by day and putting yourself in a good position,” said the 52-year-old who used to coach ex world No 1s such as Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Andy Murray and Ana Ivanovic.
Halep opted to have a pre-season training back at home in Bucharest instead of Australia this year to spend more time with family. She also recruited countryman Andrei Pavel, former word No 13, to help for two weeks and spent three more weeks working with Cahill.
“Whereas she had some injuries and health problems in the past, this year she is 100 per cent fit and healthy. Fingers crossed she stays like that. She’s playing well and ready to go,” Cahill said.
The Adelaide-based however viewed that Halep will have to be mentally tough and also has the self-belief she is good enough to be a Major champion.
“She has to be brave in the big moment and play the match with no regrets on her terms. I’m very confident and I have a great belief that she’s capable of doing it. Now it’s a matter of her thinking the same way,” added the Australian.
Although Cahill thought Halep stood the best shot at winning the French, he never wrote off her chances at other slams.
“She plays well on grass and is a good hard-court player. In the course of two weeks, she is capable of winning any of the Majors,” he said