It is quite easy to mistake Simona Halep for another one of the doe-eyed European tennis stars. She is all that but a lot more too as she showcased in her final against Sloane Stephens at Roland Garros 2018 finals. The heart of a lion, the smile of an angel and the will of a warrior – Simona has had one of the toughest journeys to her Grand Slam success in the current crop of tennis stars. From repeated heartbreaks to rotten luck, the Romanian starlet has faced it all and overcome it all.
The will to win
Ten years ago in Paris, a 9th seeded Romanian girl etched her name into Roland Garros history becoming the 1st Romanian to win a Junior Grand Slam. Fast-forward to Paris in 2018, Simona repeats her feat on her 3rd attempt and becomes the first Romanian to win a Grand Slam title.
It has been a decade of heart-breaking lows and promising heights for Simona but as is often the case with her, she fought her way back to the top. From having a breast reduction surgery early in her career to battling the odds wherever she played, Simona Halep is at the top of the WTA and rightly so.
Roland Garros 2014
Hailing from Romania, Simona Halep has had a long journey to the top. From being the feisty Romanian newbie in 2013, who won the most improved WTA player of the year award to battling her way into the finals of Roland Garros 2014. Only to fall to Maria Sharapova on the day but she didn’t give up.
Roland Garros 2017
The struggle for Simona didn’t end there as she suffered more heartbreak 2 years later at the Phillipe Chartier arena as she lost out to teenager Jelena Ostapenko in the finals of Roland Garros 2017 despite leading by a set and 3-0 in the second set.
Australian Open 2018
The Australian Open of 2018 was another heart-breaking outcome as she led Angelique Kerber by a set but only for the German to claw her way back and win the crown.
Roland Garros 2018
When many would break, Simona’s perseverance shone through, fighting back from a set down to Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and a set down to Sloane Stephens in the final; with a booming forehand and a gleaming smile Simona Halep sealed her first and much deserved Grand Slam win at Roland Garros 2018
A fighter’s heart
Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa is often considered as one of the most motivational and popular fictional sports characters of all time. In what is arguably one of the best monologues ever he says, “It ain’t about how hard you can hit but about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
Simona Halep epitomizes the ability to take heartbreaks with a smile and come back fighting.