World No. 2 Simona Halep recently gave her thoughts about Roger Federer, commending the 39-year-old for his on-court success as well as his off-court friendliness. Halep believes that Federer’s retirement, whenever it comes, will be a big blow to the entire tennis world.
Like Roger Federer, Simona Halep is a former World No. 1 too. Having triumphed at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the past, the 29-year-old is one of the most experienced and consistent performers on the WTA tour. Halep is expected to be one of the favorites for the Australian Open, where she reached the semis last year.
During a recent interview with Digisport, the Romanian opined that the tennis community stands to lose a lot when Roger Federer calls it a day.
"It would be no tragedy to retire at 40 being Federer,” Simona Halep said. “It will be a tragedy, for our sport, for his colleagues, we will miss him very much.”
Simona Halep went on to wax lyrical about the qualities of Roger Federer, labeling the 20-time Grand Slam champion a 'genius'. The Romanian, however, understands that Federer will eventually have to start focusing on the other priorities of his life.
“He was an idol for our whole generation, a beauty on the field and off the field a very civilized man, with good sense, warm with everyone,” Halep continued. “A genius, from my point of view, and it would be sad enough for the sport for Federer to disappear, but I think that when he decides this, it will be a wise decision. Life means something other than tennis, he is old and what he has achieved is enormous.”
Simona Halep recalls the first time she met Roger Federer, says she ‘froze’ upon seeing him
During the interview, Simona Halep also looked back at the first time ever she ran into Roger Federer. The two met at Wimbledon in 2007, when Federer was well on his way to greatness while Halep was a teenager yet to make her debut on the WTA Tour.
The Romanian revealed that she ‘froze’ when she met the then-defending champion by chance.
"I was at Wimbledon in 2007, I went to the training grounds, I had the junior badge and I went to the connection to leave a racket, I saw him there, I froze,” Simona Halep said. “I didn't know how to react and handed him the badge, asked him if he could give me an autograph.”
Halep then went on to describe the brief conversation that she had with Roger Federer on that day.
“And then he asked me what I was doing there, how I was, I told him that I like tennis, that I'm at Wimbledon and I'm glad it's there, I had never seen a grass field before,” Halep added.
The World No. 2 recalled how friendly Federer was despite the fact that he didn't know anything about her.
“He was very warm and gave me a very pleasant feeling,” Halep continued. “Even though he was very famous and very good in our sport, he talked to me and wished me well.”