This is an appointment built on familiarity, trust and respect.
“The tennis community in Romania is small. So all the time there is some sort of contact, for example at Fed Cup. I was pleased to be invited when she has a birthday, or when she celebrated her Roland-Garros victory last year,” Dobre said.
“We have always kept in touch, But it was also a surprise because I had my job, my club, my juniors that I was working with. I was surprised as I heard she wanted to try work alone.
“The relationship we have is not only coaching, we are friends. It’s crucial the player is always saying what they need and want. We are very direct with each other, we have the best communication.”
Halep embraces bigger profile
From the very first practice at the Miami Open, Dobre has relished the task of keeping Halep in silverware contention and is pleased to see his friend at ease.
“She’s changed a lot. People around look differently at her, she’s more comfortable in her social life, she’s friends with a lot of people of the tour, she talks to a lot of coaches. She really appreciates it in this community,” Dobre explained.
“Before it was also unbelievably nice, but she was a little bit closed, she found it easier to keep her thoughts to herself. Now she is much, much more confident not only on the court, but outside it.”
For Dobre, the world No.3 has all the tennis tools at her disposal, but has been astounded by Simona’s mental fortitude and application.
The progress in Paris has been to plan. Three rounds, three displays of determination and guile. However, Dobre is insisting the defending champion must keep her tunnel vision. “What is more important is for her to fight for each point, to behave well, with the right attitude to not head off the court without giving everything,” he said.
“You see so many seeds here losing or struggling on both the men’s and women’s side. The first target is to have no regrets.”