Reem Abulleil

Sport360 - - News - @ReemAb­ulleil reemab­ulleil@sport360.com Rome Di­ary

Si­mona Halep is the No. 1 player in the world. She has made three Grand Slam fi­nals, has won 16 ca­reer ti­tles and is a national hero in Ro­ma­nia.

She has mar­quee spon­sors like Mercedes, and her name is chanted across sta­di­ums world­wide.

That kind of suc­cess and sta­tus comes with some nice perks some­times and for Halep, one true high­light was getting in­vited to an An­drea Bo­celli con­cert last Au­gust in Italy.

“It was a re­ally great feel­ing and I felt that be­cause of what I’m do­ing in sport, I’m there,” she told me in Madrid last week.

This week in Rome, she got to at­tend another Bo­celli per­for­mance, in a far more in­ti­mate set­ting, along with a few oth­ers play­ers in­clud­ing Juan Martin del Potro.

“I met him in Rome for the first time last year. Luck­ily I lost in the US Open first round so I could at­tend the con­cert,” she jok­ingly said on Wed­nes­day, fol­low­ing her sec­on­dround vic­tory over Osaka.

“It’s amaz­ing. I’ve been a huge fan of his for many years. I just love the way he sings, and all the sto­ries. It was amaz­ing also to be here a few days ago, so close. It was a nice ex­pe­ri­ence and I felt re­laxed, maybe that’s why I played so well.”

Halep in­deed looked re­laxed on court but the same can­not be said of Osaka, who told her coach Sascha Ba­jin dur­ing an on-court coach­ing ses­sion that she wanted to cry.

The al­ways hon­est and re­flec­tive Osaka ex­plained to us ex­actly how she was feel­ing dur­ing that con­ver­sa­tion.

“He was ask­ing me, like, ‘what do I think I should do’, or some­thing like that. And then he was like… I didn’t say, I wanna cry. I said… Maybe I did. Ac­tu­ally, maybe I did,” she said.

“It’s just one of the most helpless feel­ings. I know I should be mak­ing these balls; but for some rea­son they’re not go­ing in, and I don’t re­ally know what I should be do­ing at this point.

“The balls that I prac­tise, like I prac­tise ev­ery day, they go in. To­day it doesn’t go in. It’s just one of those mo­ments, where you’re a lit­tle bit de­pressed and stuff. But I think this is the first match of the year that I’ve felt like this.

“The last year has been a roller coaster. This year I feel it’s been more sta­ble. I’m re­ally proud of my­self for that.”

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