Halep is the first Romanian Grand Slam champion at All England Club
By Mathieu Wood at Wimbledon
Last Updated: 13/07/19 6:45pm
Simona Halep defeated Serena Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon women’s singles final
Simona Halep says she has exceeded her own pre-tournament expectations and achieved something she believed unimaginable by winning Wimbledon.
The 27-year-old stunned 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in Saturday’s final to claim a second major title to go along with her French Open success from last year.
Halep, who will rise to world No 4 in the rankings on Monday, grew up on playing on clay courts in Romania and says winning the grass-court major is a brilliant achievement.
Asked when she thought she could win Wimbledon, Halep said: “Thinking that it is a possibility to win on grass, it was tough to believe because we don’t even have a court, grass court, in Romania.
Simona Halep is presented with her lifelong membership badge for the All England Lawn Tennis Club by outgoing chairman Philip Brook
“I never thought. I’m very honest. I never thought that I’m able to win on grass with all these players that are very tall and serving with a lot of power.
“But this year, as I said every day, I started to feel the game more and more. I started to feel safe (with her movement) on court, which helped me a lot to believe.”
Halep had won only one of her 10 previous matches against Williams but excelled on Centre Court as she crushed the American for the loss of just four games in a match which lasted less than an hour.
Simona Halep celebrates with the Venus Rosewater Dish after winning the Wimbledon women’s singles title
“I’m very sure that was the best match of my life,” Halep added.
“Also on grass against her is never easy. So I’m really proud of my game of today and the whole tournament.
“I’m happy about what I achieved these two weeks. I can’t describe how I feel winning Wimbledon. It’s pretty special.”
The former world No 1, who is now working with compatriot Daniel Dobre after she split with Darren Cahill last year, says she formulated her strategy on the morning of the final.
Halep’s coach Daniel Dobre and mother Tania watch on during the presentation ceremony
“I had always been intimidated a little bit when I faced Serena. She’s an inspiration for everyone and the model for everyone,” Halep said.
“I decided before the match that I’m going to focus on myself and on the final of Grand Slam, not on her. That’s why I was able to play my best, to be relaxed, and to be able to be positive and confident against her.”
Williams praised Halep for her level in the match in her own post-match news conference and hoped the Romanian could replicate such a performance on a more regular basis.
Asked whether this was just a one-off performance, Halep said: “I hope not. I hope it’s going to be again.
“I’m still motivated. I’m looking forward already to the next tournaments and next challenges that I have.”
“It’s not the only one match I played great. In my opinion, I played many great matches, even if I lost a few of them.
“I feel that I’m at the highest level, for sure. But I’m feeling also that I can improve some things, not about today’s match.
“But this tournament, I feel like I have to improve other things. I will keep working for that. I’m still motivated. I’m looking forward already to the next tournaments and next challenges that I have.”