Simona Halep has become one of the top tennis players in the world. While her stellar play on the court is no secret, Simona is private about her personal life. According to Womens Tennis Blog, Simona has been linked to former TCU tennis player Radu Barbu. Neither party has talked publicly about their relationship, but they were pictured vacationing together in Italy. Halep and Barbu are both from Romania.
Halep may be one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world, but she admitted she still considers herself an underdog.
“Yeah, maybe [I’m an underdog], because I’m not that tall,” Halep explained to Sports Illustrated. “But I also feel that I have a good game to play fast and aggressive as much as possible. And also my defense is really good. I can run a lot… I’m just trying to focus on myself, how to get better day-by-day. I can honestly say that every time I go on court, I see the opponent in a competitive way, but not a rival.”
Learn more about Halep, and her relationship with Barbu.
1. The Couple Has Been Secretive About Their Relationship Status
Barbu and Halep have not spoken publicly about their relationship. The Romanian website Spy News reported the couple was seen vacationing together on a Portofino resort on the Italian Riviera. Barbu has communicated to his friends that there is nothing romantic between the two, but Spy News reported the couple started dating after the U.S. Open. WomensTennisBlog.com provides a bit of background about their Romanian connection.
The 34-year-old Barbu was born in Pitesti, Romania, but in his twenties moved to the USA, playing for the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University (TCU) from 2005 to 2007. Later on, he was appointed a student assistant coach. Barbu, whose highest ATP ranking was No.1151, is friends with many Romanian players, including Halep’s former coach Andrei Mlendea, as well as Horia Tecau, Florin Mergea, Andrei Pavel and Victor Crivoi. Barbu’s current occupation is a young tennis development program in Romania.
2. Barbu Was a Student Assistant Coach For the TCU Tennis Team
The two have a shared bond with their love of tennis. Barbu transitioned from a tennis player to a coach for TCU, a university located in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU coach Dave Borelli spoke highly of Barbu’s addition in a university press release back in 2007.
“I’m really excited to have Radu as part of our team,” Borelli noted. “Radu was such an important part of our team chemistry last season, as we were 1-7 without him in the lineup and 9-5 when he returned to our lineup. Not only was his play a factor in our success, but also his presence. He’ll be a big help for our team this season.”
Barbu is originally from Pitesti, Romania, and graduated from TCU in 2007. Barbu is no longer listed as part of the TCU coaching staff.
3. Barbu Played Tennis For TCU From 2005 to 2007
According to WomensTennisBlog.com, Barbu tried to play on the ATP, but his highest ranking was No. 1,151. Barbu did have a successful college tennis career, excelling in both singles and doubles. Here’s how TCU described his career.
As a member of the men’s tennis team, Barbu went 35-27 overall in singles play in three seasons and 31-20 in dual matches, including a 10-3 mark last season. As a senior, Barbu recorded an undefeated 6-0 mark in regular season Mountain West Conference play and earned MWC Player of the Week honors.
Barbu also excelled in doubles play with TCU, notching an overall record of 36-21 and a dual mark of 28-18. In 2006, Barbu went 16-3 overall in doubles, including an 11-1 dual mark when playing with Cosmin Cotet. In total, Barbu earned 67 singles and doubles victories as a Horned Frog.
4. Halep Had Breast Reduction Surgery in 2009 to Alleviate Pain & Help Her Tennis Game
According to the New York Post, Halep opted to have breast reduction surgery in 2009 at the age of 17 not only to help her tennis game, but to give herself a better quality of life. Halep explained to the New York Post that she would have had the surgery even if she was not a tennis player.
“I didn’t like them in my everyday life, either,” Halep explained to the New York Post. “I would have gone for surgery even if I hadn’t been a sportswoman.”
On the tennis court, Halep has noticed a difference in her ability to react.
“My ability to react quickly was worse and my breasts made me uncomfortable,” Halep noted to the New York Post. “It’s the weight that troubles me. My ability to react quickly, my breasts make me uncomfortable when I play.”
5. Both Halep & Barbu Are From Romania
Halep and Barbu share a Romanian connection. Barbu is from Pitesti, while Halep is from Constanta. Halep spoke to Elle about growing up in Romania, and her first tennis memories (translated from Romanian).
“Yes, Constanţa is a very beautiful city,” Halep explained to Elle. “Even if I have not been there for ten years, it is and will remain my soul city. My brother and our cousins practiced this sport, I was about 4 years old when I first went to the tennis courts. I was going with my parents to take my brother out of the training and one day I took the rocket in my hand and started playing. From that moment the rocket stuck to my hand. The interest in this sport came along, I liked it and I really like it. So, thanks to my brother, I played tennis.”