Researchers from a university in Romania They have given the name of Simona Halep, the Romanian Wimbledon and Roland Garros champion and former world No. 1, to a newly discovered species of insect on the Black Sea coast, where the athlete is originally from.
“The species is dedicated to the famous tennis player Simona Halep, born in the same region as the type locality,” say the scientists, referring to the place where the species was identified, in the article announcing the discovery of Phlebotomus simonahalepae.
Sandflies, or sand gnats, are venous blood-sucking insects and transmit leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that can affect both dogs and humans.
As explained by Andrei Mihcalca, coordinator of the scientific study, the idea of the name came to him due to the proximity between the place where the species was discovered and the area of the coastal province of Constanza, in southeastern Romania, where Halep was born.
“We dedicate this scientific discovery to Simona Halep, as a tribute and sign of appreciation for her performances and for how she bears the Romanian name all over the world,” the scientist told the Romanian publication G4Media.
The 29-year-old Romanian tennis player, who has agreed to give her name to the species, currently occupies the 14th position in the WTA ranking, and has a Roland Garros (2018) and a Wimbledon (2019) to her credit.