No, she’s not a dramatic character, writes Simona Halep. But then she made it clear that she had to get rid of something. So she wrote and wrote it, revealing herself on the social media platform Instagram in a way she rarely does. In the end, the most important thing was: “By the way, now I know what a panic attack looks like. It wasn’t easy to deal with, but I went through it and smiled again. Love, Simona.”
That was good news. Because what happened in the second round match at the French Open was not good. You’ve never seen anything like this in tennis, certainly not with a professional player of this caliber.
Simona Halep has won two Grand Slam tournaments, 2018 here in Paris, 2019 at Wimbledon, she was number one in the world rankings for 64 weeks. She is very popular in tennis circles, with 1.7 million followers on Instagram. What is meant by the term star. In the first round at Roland Garros, Halep defeated German rookie Nastasja Schunk in three sets, albeit with difficulty, then said she felt relieved, was looking forward to the rest of the tournament, and Paris was “like home”.
But stars can also suffer from anxiety, they are human. Her condition shows that. When she was playing against the young Chinese player Zheng Qinwen and suddenly felt short of breath, she called for help twice during the match. The doctor came. She sat on the bench and clasped her hands on her head. She admitted that panic had arisen in her.
“I don’t really know why that happened, because I was also on the cutting edge,” Halep later said. Her first interpretation: She may have put herself under too much pressure, “I really wanted to do well here.” The way Halep described the situation, she fell into a vortex where the tension at first became a nuisance and then this feeling of panic increased in her. Doctors examined her carefully, “everything was fine.” And so she was just trying to “calm me”.
Halep had already told his close friends, “I can’t take it anymore, I’m done with tennis.”
In her Instagram post, Halep also revealed that the past 18 months have been “extremely difficult” for her “emotionally and physically.” She told her close friends, “I can’t take it anymore, I’ve completed tennis.” Overcoming this deep crisis, Halep marveled at how she freed herself from this decline: “Somehow my fire came back and I began to fall in love with tennis again.” Halep got married last year and things have been going well for her on their own. Which shows that the mental problems of athletes have nothing to do with rank, status or wealth. You can meet anyone in a very individual way.
Halep also openly thanked her new coach Patrick Mouratoglou, the Frenchman, who has set up a large tennis academy in Nice and made a name for himself as coach of Serena Williams, and has recently taken care of the 30-year-old Romanian. A few days ago, after Halep’s two-hour defeat, Moratoglu also posted a blog post and took his player’s defeat on his own, saying that he was the only one responsible. Perhaps he wanted to help her relieve the pressure by taking responsibility for the sports score.
Sympathy after Halep’s panic attack was also great because the topic of mental health in tennis has become increasingly important, and this topic has an important history, especially in Paris. A year ago, four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka of Japan announced that she would not attend press conferences because she was not in a position to present herself publicly in this way. When criticized, she dropped her start before her second-round match. Before Osaka’s elimination from this year’s tournament in Paris, she made it clear that she had also sought medical help and was fine. She just stays off social media for the most part.
German Alexander Zverev was also asked about “mental health”. “I think we’re always under pressure, we’re always in the spotlight. Players who played 20, 30 years ago certainly don’t understand, because everything you do,” said the world number three, who is battling Spaniard qualifier Bernabé Zapata Miralles for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday. Nowadays it is accompanied by a camera or someone can comment on it or there is someone writing about it.”
But it was also a sign of Halep when she publicly reported her problems on Instagram: more and more professionals are not afraid to acknowledge and describe weaknesses.