29-year-old Simona Halep lifted the trophies in Dubai and Prague this year, beating Elena Rybakina and Elise Mertens respectively in the final. At the Australian Open she reached the semifinal, while in Paris she was defeated in the fourth round by future Polish champion Iga Swiatek.
Recently, the Instagram account of Behind the Racquet published the story of her arrival to success, which took place in 2014 on the occasion of her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros.
Halep: "Now I face the pressure differently"
The Romanian said: "In 2014, tennis changed my life.
I played my first major final at Roland Garros. No Romanian tennis player had ever played a Grand Slam final since 1978. Emotions exploded and everyone had high expectations for my future. They began to think that I could win a Grand Slam title.
I suddenly became popular. People on the street recognized me and asked for photos and autographs. This was a big change, it was difficult to manage but I learned a lot during this time. I tried to enjoy the attention but it was stressful, because it required a lot of energy.
I didn't want to lose focus on my career. I tried to find a balance. I have been generous and open to the fans, but at the same time focused on the hard work to do to achieve results on the court." Simona lost the final in Paris 2014 against Maria Sharapova, overcome in three sets.
She will return to contend for a Major title at the Roland Garros 2017 and at the Australian Open 2018, but once again being defeated by Jelena Ostapenko and Caroline Wozniacki. Her first Grand Slam success will come in the 2018 edition of Roland Garros, beating the American Sloane Stephens in the last game.
She added: "First of all, I felt the need to prove to the world that I could keep winning. This motivation pushed me to improve every day and has always been inside me. Over the past few years, I have improved in handling both the positive and negative aspects of pressure.
I face it after a great victory. I face the pressure and try not to base my tennis life on success. The most important thing is to work hard. If you give one hundred percent, you won't have any regrets. I've never been afraid of failing.
If you have not achieved success, it means that you have not been good enough and for this you have to work even harder."