Simona Halep, 26, is the current world number one in world tennis and has many career titles under her belt.
However, one thing that always eluded the Romanian was Grand Slam glory, and while she had gotten close in the past with appearances in semi-finals and finals, she had never been able to clinch victory. However, that has all now changed after Halep finally secured her first Grand Slam title at this year’s French Open.
Halep didn’t have things all her own way though and at one stage she, and probably everyone else, felt that her chance was gone once again as American 10th seed Sloane Stephens was a set and a break up. Speaking after her 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory Halep said, “I felt ‘it’s gone, it’s not going to happen again, but it’s OK. I have just to play’,” discussing her feelings when Stephens was in control of the match.
Halep had made it all the way to the final at Roland Garros last year and was a set and a break up herself against unseeded Latvian, Jelena Ostapenko. This, in a way, stood Halep in good stead for what was to come this time around as she was now in the opposite position in the match to what she was 12 months ago and was able to use that experience to turn around the game.
Halep said, “When I started to win games, I said that last year the same thing happened to me. So I said there is a chance to come back and win it.” She also suggested that she was more at ease on the court too, which helped her on her way and enabled her to “make more things on court, and that’s why I could win.” Halep had made it to the top of the world rankings for the first time back in October and this Grand Slam victory is only going to strengthen her position amongst the very best.
Next up for Halep is Wimbledon, after celebrating her French Open victory with a big party in Paris of course. The furthest the Romanian has ever been at Wimbledon is the semi-finals which was back in 2014, while for the last two years she has made the quarters and lost. She will be hoping to build on her success at Roland Garros at SW19 and is seen as having a good chance of doing so if the bookmaker’s odds are anything to go by.
She will face stiff competition from the likes of Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza, but if the French Open final against Sloane Stephens is anything to go by, it shows that she has not only the ability but the heart and desire too. This will stand her in good stead at Wimbledon, where she has the chance to make it two Grand Slam victories out of two, after being so close in recent years.