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Halep announces Thierry Van Cleemput as new coach

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 6 Feb 2019
  • Halep hires Van Cleemput as new coach
  • Van Cleemput previously worked with ATP star David Goffin
  • The pair will link up for upcoming tournaments in Doha and Dubai
Simona Halep (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Reigning French Open champion Simona Halep has hired Belgian Thierry Van Cleemput as her new coach.

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Halep has confirmed she will begin a new partnership with Van Cleemput - the former coach of ATP star David Goffin - at the Qatar Open in Doha, which begins next week.

The former World No. 1 split with former coach Darren Cahill at the end of last year, with the Australian citing his need to spend more time with his family as the reason for the decision.

David Goffin and Thierry Van Cleemput during a practice session at the Australian Open last month (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Halep initially stated that she had no plans to hire a new coach for the first quarter of 2019, declaring she wanted to fly solo and see how her game developed. However, after spending some time talking and practising with Van Cleemput at the Australian Open, the pair have decided to formally link up.

"It was very good, practice was good, we started the collaboration and we will work together," she told Romanian press. "Of course, it is something new, something different—it will not be easy, but everything should be fine."

After arriving at the Australian Open without a win since August after a back injury ended her season prematurely, Halep played better than she expected in Melbourne, defeating the likes of Kaia Kanepi, Sofia Kenin and Venus Williams before going down in three sets to Serena Williams in a high-quality fourth round encounter.

Van Cleemput had previously guided Goffin into the top 10 on the ATP World Tour, with the Belgian reaching his first two Grand Slam quarter-finals and finishing runner-up at the Nitto ATP Finals under his tutelage.

Van Cleemput also has experience working with other ATP stars from his home country, including Steve Darcis and Oliver Rochus, while he was Belgium’s assistant captain in Davis Cup between 2002 and 2005.

Halep is set to represent Romania in Fed Cup action against defending champions Czech Republic in Ostrava this weekend before heading to the Middle East and linking up with Van Cleemput for tournaments in Doha and Dubai.

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Halep announces Thierry Van Cleemput as new coach

Reigning French Open champion Simona Halep has hired Belgian Thierry Van Cleemput as her new coach.

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