Simona Halep was born on 27 September 1991 in Constanta, Romania. She started playing tennis at the age of four. At age 6, she was practicing daily. At age 16, she relocated to Bucharest to further her tennis career. Simona Halep who hits impenetrable winners with a relentless force won the Roland Garros Grand Slam title after three Grand Slam finals: two at Roland Garros in 2014 and 2017 and one at the Australian Open this year. From the shores of the Black Sea to the heart of Paris, Simona Halep followed an incredible path in her career, with years of intensive training and dedication that have shaped her into the greatest women’s tennis player in the world.
Simona Halep first broke into the world’s top 50 at the end of 2012, then into the top 20 in August 2013, and then top 10 in January 2014 (after reaching the Australian Open 1/4-finals).
Halep won her first 6 WTA titles in the same calendar year in 2013 (a feat that was last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1986 when she won her first 7), being named the WTA’s Most Improved Player at its end, as well as being named ESPN Center Court’s 2013 Most Improved Player.
Simona Halep reached the 2014 French Open final, her first Grand Slam final, where she played Maria Sharapova. She lost this final in three sets. She also played the semifinals at Wimbledon the same year, but lost to Eugenie Bouchard.
“I don’t know exactly what age I was, I was going to tournaments and I was ashamed to warm myself up before the matches,” said Simona Halep. “I was warming myself up in a corner or behind a building. I was a very shy child. The difference was in the attitude, the girls coming from the larger countries were more confident, more relaxed and accustomed to all sorts of things. In the early stages of my career, I was more restrained and took some time to get used to it.”
Simona Halep began playing tennis when she was 4 years old, being trained by her older brother and at the age of six she was already practicing every day. She moved to Bucharest when she was 16 years old to continue her tennis career with Justine Henin and Andrei Pavel as role models.
The first significant victory came in 2008 with a junior semi-final at the Australian Open and in May 2008, she won two junior tournaments: ITF 10,000 in Bucharest and the Trofeo Bonfiglio tournament. Four months before turning 18, Simona climbed to the highest level in the Junior world rankings with the Roland Garros junior title.
“I’m maturing, I’m no longer a child. I’m 27 years old and I’ve been through a lot in all these years. I feel ready for life. My trust in myself increased, so I started to be different. We all change with the passing of years. I cannot stay the same as a few years ago, especially since I am very eager to learn. I always knew what I intended, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I had a few issues regarding the communication side. Now it’s easier for me and I’m trying to be even better. In the end, the meaning of life is to see how good you can be in all chapters.”
Simona Halep First Grand Slam
At the third time of asking in Paris, Simona finally added a Grand Slam trophy to her cabinet. “I want to thank you all. It was awesome. In the last game I felt I could not breathe. I did everything I could. It’s amazing. I’ve dreamed of this moment since I started playing tennis. I’m very happy that it happened at Roland Garros. Paris is a special city for me.
“It’s an exciting time to make this speech as a winner. I wanted this title to be won here in France. Thank you all. I congratulate Sloane, she did great. I’m sure you will play many finals in the future. Thanks to Darren, thanks to everyone. I felt your support during these two weeks. I hope in the future to play at least one final here. Thank you all, see you next year,” said the World No.1 right after her triumph in Paris.
Simona Halep Defeats Serena Williams
History wastes no time listening to those who speak of what is likely to happen. History heeds only those who make it happen – and in the women’s final at Wimbledon 2019, Simona Halep wrote her own name large. The No.7 seed, whose name appeared on no one’s list of likely winners before The Championships began, became the first Romanian ever to win a Wimbledon title.
She stunned Serena Williams, the Centre Court crowd and almost everyone on Planet Tennis to triumph 6-2, 6-2 in just 55 minutes, with a display so resourceful, so near-flawless that there could be no answer.
Two-and-a-half long years after Williams secured her 23rd Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open, this toweringly remarkable woman found she must wait still longer for the elusive 24th crown to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.
Twelve months ago Angelique Kerber defied her here; few could envisage Halep stonewalling Williams again on the same court – yet she did. In this battle of the former world No.1s, history was written, and history was denied; and the whole was utterly thrilling.
In the build-up to the showdown, every observer had it down pat what Halep would need to do if she was to have a chance of confounding her 1-9 career record against Williams. She needed to keep the points long (coming into this match, Williams had finished 75 per cent of her points in four shots or fewer this Wimbledon), she needed to move Williams around; she needed to deliver her own first serve in order to avoid Williams demolishing her second delivery; she somehow needed to make an impression on the fearsome Williams serve, a weapon so effective it can simply take the racket out of an opponent’s hands… and even if Halep played her best, Williams still had the power to neutralise all those skills.
In the first set, Halep had jaws on the floor as she delivered exactly what was required, big time. It was a dream start as she calmly set about her task by breaking Williams in the opening game, announcing her intent early on with a forehand cross-court pass, and staying steadfast in those longer rallies she needed until Williams stumbled into error. Backing it up with a love hold, Halep snatched eight of the opening 10 points. With Williams already at full volume, Halep was deaf to all error, iron-clad in defence before threading a stunning forehand at full sprint.
When the Romanian kissed a backhand return down the line, both Serena and the Centre Court were reeling at the double break. On she forged, resolute even though Williams was at last finding a winner or two to get on the scoreboard. When Halep smacked down another backhand pass, even Williams applauded. The American punched a trademark forehand return down the line to save one set point, but she couldn’t do anything with the next. The set was gone.
Simona Halep could hardly have done more to underline the extraordinary re-ignition she has achieved this Wimbledon. For more than a year she has spoken openly of the sense of contentment she achieved when at last she snapped a run of three Grand Slam final defeats to triumph at Roland-Garros last summer. She even did so again after her first round here – but ever since then, round by round she has discovered herself again on the least likely surface.
Asked at Eastbourne just three weeks ago what she thought of when she hears the word “grass”, Halep replied: “Picnics.” But here, in the first Wimbledon final of her career, this extraordinary 27-year-old heroine of Romania served up an astonishing feast of a kind few were expecting.
Having lost the first set, Williams needed to find a fast route through her opponent’s wall of determined ambition. But Halep would not bend, no matter what the seven-time Wimbledon champion threw at her. Having secured two critical holds early in the second chapter, she defied every attack Serena could devise, reaching for her signature skill of getting absolutely everything back until her opponent made a mistake… and at 2-2, with the court at her mercy, Williams made exactly that mistake. Halep was a set and a break to the good.
Searching desperately for an answer, the American instead slid further into disastrous error, even as Halep maintained cast-iron discipline in the same department. Far from finding the way out, Williams saw matters worsen as Halep sent another backhand winner down the line for the double break.
The Romanian stood on the baseline, serving for the Venus Rosewater Dish, her face a vision of calm as the Centre Court crowd bellowed in anticipation. This last game played out exactly as the rest of the match – flawless from Halep, with errors from her opponent. She did what players dream of doing. She served it out to love.
History, like the rest of us, was looking towards Serena Williams in this Wimbledon final; and it turned out that history, like the rest of us, was gazing in the wrong direction. The outcome which surely few could see came to pass. Simona Halep defeated Serena Williams in straight sets. The Romanian is the champion of Wimbledon.
- Simona Halep Biography and Profile (Simona Halep / Wimbledon)