Simona Halep, praise of perseverance
If merit exists in sport, then Simona Halep’s coronation is most deserved. And meritorious.
In her third attempt at the Roland-Garros final, her fourth in the major final by adding the Australian Open in January, Simona Halep has become a Grand Slam champion. Admirable demonstration of character, especially that she went to two games of the loss against Sloane Stephens (3/6 6/4 6/1).
How do you imagine what Simona Halep must have felt when Sloane Stephens’ return from service remained in the net, just at that moment when her racket fell out of her hands? Not many of them know what it means to erase three failures in the Grand Slam final with a title on the fourth attempt. By the resilience that this implies, the ability to cash in on each failure and to recover from it, requires an unconventional, admirable, exceptional character.
In good company
And to know how joy, deliverance, relief, pride or appeasement blend when the goal is finally reached, we must be called Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Kim Clijsters, Andy Murray or Goran Ivanisevic. This is how good Simona Halep is in good company this Saturday night, after his victory over Sloane Stephens in the final of Roland Garros (3/6 6/4 6/1).
“I dreamed of this moment as soon as I started to play tennis, I’m so happy that it happens at Roland Garros, in Paris,” she said, breathlessly cut off, at the microphone of the speaker on the edge of court.
Roland-Garros, where his story is written …
Roland Garros. Her favorite tournament, where she triumphed in juniors in 2008. This tournament where she almost won in 2014, bowing at the end of the suspense against Maria Sharapova in the second longest final in history . This tournament where Jelena Ostapenko played her a bad trick last year, the Latvian reversing a match in which she was led 6/4 3-0 …
Halep: “I thought back to last year”
But Simona Halep has each time raised. Combative, stubborn champion like the clay beaten so much. “We appreciate even more the flavor of things when they come after a somewhat chaotic path,” said coach Darren Cahill. And the public found themselves in this point of view, long cheering the new queen of Roland Garros.
Simona Halep, Roland Garros 2018
© Philippe Montigny / FFT
A beginning, not an end
An accomplishment … but not a goal. Lendl, Agassi, Clijsters, Murray, Ivanisevic: in this select club that Simona Halep joined on June 9, 2018, only the Croatian stopped at a single Grand Slam. But he was then at the end of his career. For Simona Halep, more than ever No. 1 in the world at 26, this title at Roland Garros looks more like a beginning.