“It was my Mum’s dream for me. She said if I wanted to do something in tennis I have to play the final of Wimbledon, so today the day came”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2019
These were Simona Halep’s first words after her magnificent triumph against one of the best tennis has ever seen, Serena Williams. Simona Halep showed great character and composure to win the Wimbledon title 6-2, 6-2. Halep did not let the situation get to her and played flawless tennis.
Serena Williams, on the other hand, looked under tremendous pressure, also of the record, and went down without much fight. Williams, like in last year’s final defeat by Angelique Kerber, seemed weighed down by public and personal expectations.
Halep had said before the game that she had no pressure on her and well, that’s exactly the way she played, right from the outset. She had a calm demeanor about her and looked ever-so-relaxed and confident, taking on the challenge with her sight set on just one thing- the Wimbledon trophy.
You can’t really do much when the opponent is in such form and Williams reaffirmed the same. “She really played out of her mind,” Williams said. “Whenever a player plays that amazing you just have to take your hat off and give her a nod.”
Halep, charm, and joy personified, agreed she had never played a better match. “I had nerves,” she said on court. “My stomach was not very well before the match. But I had no time for emotions and just came out and tried my best.”
“It was my mum’s dream when I was about 10. And the day came and my mum is here to see it. I have worked a lot to change a little bit my game to play on grass. I started to feel this year when the ball comes to me I knew what to do with it. I can’t wait to come back here.”
Halep stuck to a perfect gameplan and forced errors on Serena Williams, who seemed to have had the occasion get to her. Halep set the tone right from the start and with just 11 minutes on the clock, was 4-0 ahead. By the time Serena could get an account of the situation, the first set was gone.
“I knew that I have to be aggressive, be 100% for every ball and that I don’t have to let her come back into the match because she’s so powerful and so strong,” Halep said. “She knows how to manage every moment. So I knew that I have to stay there, which I did pretty well today,” Halep told in the post-match interview.
Serena could not play her natural way and was restricted to just 2 aces, while she had 45 aces in the other matches. Halep kept the momentum going and with never let Serena get her thoughts together and stage a comeback. All it took was just 56 minutes for Halep to win her maiden Wimbledon title, something she had desperately waited for, for years.
Carved into #Wimbledon history…
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2019
Halep has now won the past two Grand Slam finals she has appeared in, having been defeated in the three before that. Williams has lost her past three.
Even the top players came out in praise of the 27-year-old Romanian.
Three-time Wimbledon singles champion John McEnroe: “I’m shocked. She obviously is a tremendous and, at this stage in her career, superior athlete. But I didn’t think it would intimidate Serena Williams as much as it did today. Halep completely and thoroughly outplayed her. It wasn’t even a match. There’s only a handful of times in your life when you feel as though you’re in the zone like that and that was one of them.”
Nine-time Wimbledon singles champion Martina Navratilova: “I think it’s essential for Serena Williams to play more matches. You can’t fake it. You need those matches. History can get in the way, and it can get difficult to get rid of those nerves.”
Halep, who ended 2017 and 2018 as the World No.1 hasn’t had the sort of consistency required to be at the top. Testimony to the same lies in the fact that the Romanian just has 2 Grand Slam titles in her kitty, Wimbledon 2019 and the French Open last year.
She has been in the semi-final and final of other Grand Slams but never really got the result she wanted. A defeat in 2018 Australian Open final and in the semi-final of the 2015 US Open told that though Halep might be a huge talent, she needs to work harder to etch her name among the best.
This Wimbledon title might have just done the trick for her. And not just the title, but the fashion of it as well; highly dominating, near-flawless display. It was possibly a mental block and the pressure she had, maybe subconsciously, from what her mum told her about the Wimbledon title and with her having won that now, the Romanian can set to achieve greater heights.
Standing at 37, Serena Williams isn’t getting any younger and the title win today would have given Halep a huge mental boost and paved way for her to now believe in herself more.
Having ended two years in succession as the Number 1 is no mean feat and now that she has got certain things going for her, we could see her top ranking reflecting in the Grand Slam titles.
Hey World, what out for Simona Halep!