Player DNA: Simona Halep, the ultimate fighter

  • Game Insight Group

Simona Halep is the number one ranked player in the world and a Grand Slam champion, but what is it that makes the 2018 Australian Open finalist so formidable?

Game Insight Group (GIG) breaks down the Romanian’s game to examine how she has managed to climb to the top of the tennis world.

GIG’s Player DNA is combination of four key areas: Technical, Tactical, Physical and Mental. GIG analyses the major findings within each metric to illustrate the strength of a player’s attributes relative to their competitors. Ratings are given up to a maximum score of 100.

Read – the complete guide to GIG Player DNA

Strong return, strong forehand
Halep’s success has been built around her mental and physical ability, with her technical strength based on the return and her backhand a relative weakness in terms of accuracy. Despite a forehand speed 2kmph slower than the average player, the Romanian wins 4% more points than the average player on her forehand. As a result GIG rates the Romanian’s Forehand Potency (the ability to win points with that shot) highly with a score of 90, as well as an 87 for her Accuracy on that wing.

Excels at time control
Halep is a hard player to counter when she has time on her side. Impressive scores for Attacking Balance (90) and Time Control (88) outweigh struggles with her Rally Craft and ability to defend from a wide position. GIG notes that Halep wins 2% more points when she has a time advantage over her opponent than the average player in the same situation.

The best acceleration in tennis
The ‘Physical’ DNA metric looks at five components – Foot Speed, Acceleration, Repeat Sprints, Agility and Match Endurance – and it is Halep’s No.1 ranking in Acceleration that defines her as one of the most physically imposing players on tour. Halep hit peak accelerations over 10m/s2 (metres per second squared) at Australian Open 2018, which is 14% greater than the acceleration displayed by the average Grand Slam player. Add in a No.3 ranking for Agility, No.4 for Match Endurance and No.6 for Foot Speed, and you have a fearsome competitor.

Halep ranked No.3 for ‘Mental’ DNA
Halep is considered one of the biggest fighters in the game and her ‘Mental’ rank of No.3 overall shows why. She ranks inside the top 20 in all four components that comprise a player’s ‘Mental’ DNA: Killer Instinct, Grit, Clutch and Winning Edge. Her No.6 ranking in Grit demonstrates how hard the world No.2 makes it for her opponents - of Halep’s four most recent losses at Grand Slams, only one was under two hours in length.

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