By Jake Davies, in Linz

  • Sorana Cirstea heaps praise on new World No.1 Simona Halep
  • Cirstea explains the positives this does for Romanian tennis.
LINZ, AUSTRIA – Sorana Cirstea advanced in Linz, before speaking about the impact Simona Halep‘s rise to World No. 1 has had in Romania.



This season has seen many fluctuations in the careers and levels of those at the very top of the women’s game. The player that produces the least fluctuations in their respective levels are the one’s that find themselves at the top spot and Simona Halep is the 25th player ever to obtain the No.1 ranking on the WTA.

She is the fifth WTA player to grab hold of that ranking in this year alone, in which we have seen Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza also sit at the top of the rankings in 2017. The accolade of being a World No.1 goes beyond the sport of tennis as it gives that player the responsibility and particular role to play as that player that everyone looks up to. Halep is no different.

The consistency required is astounding. Players will not always feel one hundred percent when they are out on the court. They will not always play their best tennis, but to be able to deliver great results during those tough moments is really what makes the World No.1. Halep has battled through some psychologically-challenging moments, but continued to be resilient and persistent in her quest of being the first Romanian World No.1.

Sorana Cirstea, who is the second highest-ranked Romanian on the WTA tour, was in a vibrant mood following a straight-sets win over Alison Van Uytvanck in the Linz first round and she expressed her delight and appreciation for what Halep has achieved and what that means for the onlooking Romanian juniors that would hope to replicate what Halep is doing in the years ahead:

Cirstea said: “For Romania, it is huge that Simona is No.1. I did not have the chance to congratulate her personally because I left Beijing before that happened. But we are neighbours, so probably when we come back home I will shout something from the balcony. [laughter].

“She is a great player and she has been very consistent these last 4 or 5 years and she has been Top 10 and even Top 5. I’ve actually always said that sooner or later she will be No.1. She deserved that spot. She worked hard for it.

“She stayed very consistent and for Romania, it is an unbelievable achievement. We are such a small nation and I am very happy with the way that tennis is bringing people together. It is a social movement in the right direction and I am very happy to be a part of it.”

Cirstea is not wrong. The knock-on effect of a player shining the light for Romanian tennis is a huge moment and it gives the younger kids a role model to aspire towards. Halep getting to World No.1 only strengthens that possibility.

The strength in-depth in women’s tennis is very apparent. There are an abundance of new exciting talents winning big trophies like Jelena Ostapenko, who has made a real breakthrough this season, winning Roland Garros. And then you can look towards more great personalities like Muguruza that can really drive the sport for the next five or six years. It is an exciting moment for the WTA and Cirstea totally agreed in her post-match press conference in Linz:

“It was a very interesting and exciting year, from my point of view the level was great and so high. Everyone in top100 is playing so good and it is impossible nowadays to have an easy match. Since Serena Williams stepped back for pregnancy, there have been opportunities for everyone to show their tennis and to feel more confident.

“From my point of view Muguruza had an unbelievable year and deserved to be no. 1, Ostapenko and Stephens had great moments and played unbelievably in Roland Garros and US Open. It is a very exciting year and it brought a lot of good to women’s tennis.”

Sorana Cirstea will now face Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the second round of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz tournament this week.



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