Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has revealed that growing up Justine Henin was her idol and that it got to the point where she actually spent her time trying to copy the Belgian.

Henin was a mainstay in the higher echelons of the WTA Tour in the 2000’s winning seven Grand Slam titles and a gold medal at the Olympics; as well as being World No.1 for 117 weeks and so for the World No.2, it is easy to idolise somebody in that vein to have a winning mentality.

“It’s a pleasure to talk to my idol!” she said on Eurosport’s ‘Tennis Legends’ podcast. “When I was growing up, I was actually copying her, I have to admit.”

On what she took from Henin’s game, she replied: “Well, everything! First of all, we’re the same height and I felt like: ‘I have a chance to do it!’

“And the backhand – even if I’ve not got a one-handed backhand – I loved your backhand, Justine.

“I’ve also copied her movement because she always had strong legs and the way that she played very close to the baseline. I tried to copy that but it was not perfect because I was very far behind it sometimes, but I had it in my mind and I knew that it was the best thing to do when you’re not very tall.”

Picture: Proshots

Proshots

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Author: Samuel Gill