As Simona Halep is currently recovering from the sudden calf injury that she suffered in Rome against Angelique Kerber, we have time to recap the troublesome year she had until now, especially in regards to the two very important events coming up rapidly: Wimbledon, where she has to defend her queen title, and, of course, the Olympic Games, the greatest dream left on the table for Simona.
Isn’t this too much for Darren Cahill’s most successful student? Would Halep give up Wimbledon for the Olympic Games? Will the injuries give her a break, so that she can build up some momentum? Let’s explore all these unknown variables by looking at Halep’s 2021 performance and state of mind fluctuations until now.
After all, besides physical power and talent, it takes strong nerves to pull off the feats that the en-titre Wimbledon champion has in front of her.
Wimbledon vs Olympic Games
Even though Simona Halep will have to defend many WTA points and her champion status, the Romanian player is likely to give up the famous Grand Slam if, through any unfortunate event, her participation at the Tokyo Olympic Games is endangered.
Halep indirectly backed up this scenario last year. “I hope to be fit, to be able to win the matches and bring a medal to the country. This year, yes, an Olympic medal is more important than a Grand Slam tournament. It is the main goal, but in general, both are on the same level,” said Halep to AS, a Romanian online sports publication.
Halep’s battle against injuries
The most obvious situation which could make Halep withdraw from Wimbledon is exactly what happened in Rome, where she burst into tears given the pain she was feeling in her left calf – suffering an injury.
And it’s important to note that Simona’s tears could have been very well amplified by the simple fact that her “main goal” of the year, the participation in the Olympics, and Roland Garros were at risk.
After all, one of the worst fears for any sportsman or sportswoman is to not be able to compete, especially when the stakes are high. “It’s with a heavy heart that I announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros this year.
Unfortunately, the tear in my left calf muscle needs more time to recover and the timeline is just too short. Withdrawing from a Grand Slam goes against all my instincts and aspirations as an athlete, but it is the right and only decision to make.
The thought of not being in Paris fills me with sadness, but I will focus my energy on recovery, staying positive and getting back on court as soon as it is safe to do so,” Halep announced on Facebook.
But could this calf injury be an obstacle for a “hungry” Halep at Wimbledon and the Olympics?
According to Dobre, her newly appointed coach, the injury treatment is going well.
“Simona is fine as far as I know. I didn't talk to her every day, my collaboration with her was supposed to start after Roland Garros, but I know she's working hard to come back. She was in Germany, she did some infiltrations, now she's on the physiotherapy side, she allocates three or four hours a day for rehabilitation – I see her well mentally,” Dobre told Agerpres.
Moreover, Halep will be eager to start racking up good results once she gets back on the court “because she will come with an incredible desire to play tennis, (…) with a hunger for results,” according to Dobre.
However, the calf injury is not the only problem for the former world number one. Halep accused back problems at the Australian Open and withdrew from Miami after feeling pain in her right shoulder. „I'm very sorry I have to pull out of singles and doubles at the Miami Open, but my injury doesn’t let me play here as I expected.
I’m sad that I can’t continue, I wanted to come here to give my best and play many matches but unfortunately, I can’t. Hopefully next year I will be back healthy and better,” Halep wrote on Facebook after her withdrawal.
To conclude, it is pretty clear that Simona Halep would give up at defending her Wimbledon title for a chance to compete for an Olympic medal if circumstances ask for it, but, given her strong motivation and hunger for good results, we shall see Halep taking on this tough period with all she’s got.