Simona Halep: Good season in 2016 or not?

I think Simona Halep’s 2016 season is a tough one to love and it’s a tough one to hate.

Simona Halep finished the 2016 season finished as the World No. 4, behind Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, and Agnieszka Radwanska. The Romanian’s season certainly had some major highlights, however that’s not to say that it was one that should be too satisfying for her fans. The World No. 4, despite adding some nice titles to her collection, didn’t quite get the big result on the biggest stages that I think her fans yearned for.

Firstly, let’s look at what Halep accomplished. The Romanian took down two Premier Mandatory titles, one in Madrid and another one in Montreal. But the Madrid title wasn’t really a pure Premier Mandatory title when one looks at her draw. She never faced anyone in the Top 10, a lot of players missed the tournament or withdrew early, and what resulted was a diluted eventย for talent where she was able to get a big title without beating the big players. Halep also won a title in Romania, a result that has to be nice for her given the location. But the glaring failure with Halep’s season is that she didn’t hit the mark when it came to the Grand Slams.

Halep failed to make a semifinal in any major in 2016. Furthermore, it has now been over 2.5 years since she made the French Open final in 2014. At that time she was looking like a late-round mainstay for years to come. Yet in 2016 she fell at the Aussie in the first round, she lost in the French Open round of sixteen, and she lost in the quarters of both Wimbledon and the US Open. A round-robin elimination at the tour finals, the fifth biggest tournament of the season, didn’t help Halep out and her fans might feel as though her season was a little unsatisfying.

Given how things went on tour for a lot of talented players in 2016, I think her fans have the right to feel a little disappointed. Caroline Wozniacki had troubles for most of the season. Petra Kvitova wasn’t herself in the same way. Maria Sharapova faced and continues to serve her suspension. Serena Williams may have finally aged out of the top ranking and Victoria Azarenka got pregnant. Those are the great players from the last several years, each of which faced some kind of challenge to their tennis game. The door was really open for Halep to make another Grand Slam final in 2016 and she failed to do so.ย Despite her finish of fourth in the world, her season, which saw the door open wide open with all of the WTA’s developments, left something to be desired.

Shane Lambert