Serena Williams got it to the point. At the award ceremony following her eleventh Wimbledon final, the American was asked about the performance of her opponent. “She was really crazy,” Williams said. And it works very well to describe the performance of Simona Halep. The Romanian swept across Williams in just 55 minutes and won for the first time the most important trophy in the world.
“It's been an incredible moment, it was always a dream to win here, not just for me, but for my mother as well,” Halep said shortly after the biggest triumph of her career. Her mother, according to the new world ranking fourth, had already given her as a child on the way that she had to reach the Wimbledon final, in order to have really achieved something. As a motivation, she laughingly revealed, she also served lifetime membership, which every professional receives after winning the title in London.
Only lost one set throughout the tournament
Halep and Wimbledon? That had not been a love story until this year. In 2012 and 2015 she had already failed in the first round, last year was just a few weeks after their win at the French Open in round three final. And this season, Halep had reached only one final before Wimbledon, as the top favorites were others. However, both the defending champion Angelique Kerber and the lawn specialist Karolina Pliskova retired early. So the way was clear for Halep, who gave only one set in seven games.
Their best game followed in the final. She forced her opponent to make many mistakes by knocking back every ball that had no chance. Williams had to admit afterwards that she had exaggerated it at some point with the speed of her punches. Halep did not even need an hour to write tennis history.
(Toby Melville / Pool Photo via AP)
Only the final victory, then the jubilation: Simona Halep posing after her triumph at Wimbledon with the trophy
The 27-year-old was the first Romanian to win the tournament on Church Road. Neither Ilie Nastase, who was one of the best clay court players in the world in the seventies, nor the former French Open champion Virginia Ruzici could triumph at Wimbledon. With two Grand Slam victories, Halep is now one of the most successful athletes in her country, after the title in Paris, comparisons were made with the five-time Olympic champion Nadia Comaneci.
Third Grand Slam final defeat since 2018
While Halep is at the peak of her career, Williams has yet to face another setback. For them, it is the ninth defeat in the final of a major – and already the third in a year. “Any defeat is hard for me, but if someone plays as well as Simona, there's nothing you can do,” Williams said.
That she missed Margaret Court's record again did not matter in her mind. “I just want to have fun and get the most out of myself,” says Williams. It does not look like a retirement soon. The soon-to-be-38-year-old protested that her last injured knee is “very good” and that she is currently very happy.
That also applies to Halep. “I'm pretty sure that was the best match of my life today,” she said.