SHE may have been preparing for her opening singles match at the Adelaide International but it didn’t stop tennis world number four Simona Halep from finding time to visit her beloved Port Adelaide Football Club.
The Wimbledon champion visited Alberton Oval on Tuesday morning with her coach – Port Adelaide board member – Darren Cahill.
The son of legendary Port Adelaide player and coach John Cahill, Darren has ensured Halep is well versed in the history and tradition of the club.
She arrived wearing a Port Adelaide cap and joined the players for breakfast before sharing some stories and advice during a casual question and answer session.
“From conversations with (Darren Cahill), he made the offer that she might be able to come along while she’s over here with her tournament and spend some time with us,” explained Port Adelaide senior assistant coach Michael Voss.
“Being that she’s adopted Port Adelaide as her team we well and truly took that opportunity.
“The big thing for us is having that exposure to really high-level elite athletes in any field and hearing their stories.
“What we find is that they’re all very similar - we have the same doubts about our careers, we go through adversity as players and through those experiences we learn what’s right and what’s wrong and we make ourselves better as footballers and as people.
“You heard that really loud and clear in her story.”
Best known for winning Wimbledon in 2019 and the French Open in 2018, Halep has endured her fair share of disappointment as well, having been unable to close out matches and tournaments when she was expected to win.
But in the past six years the former World Number 1 has been a picture of consistency, being ranked inside the top four in the world at the end of the year for every year since 2014.
With Port Adelaide’s inconsistency in recent years, Halep’s messages about doing the little things right consistently resonated with the group.
“She’s had her disappointments, even in the early part of her career until she learnt to win on a regular basis,” Voss said.
“When you’re youthful and exciting, you can certainly have progress in other ways but it’s through those experiences that you have that makes you a more consistent person and more consistent performer.
“The stories she shared with us today were all about that – not just about the triumphs she’s had, early in her career but the real disappointments in how she wasn’t able to replicate that on a consistent basis.
“And all of those experiences that she’s taken away with her has made her the player that she’s been in the last six, seven, eight years and being this regular, high-level performer who hasn’t been lower than number four at the end of the year for about the last six years.
“That’s an incredible level of consistency of performance and durability.”
Halep faces Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round of the Adelaide International on tonight from 6:30pm.