Wimbledon champion Halep inspired by 2014 win against Serena

Simona Halep was inspired by her 2014 WTA Finals victory against Serena Williams and was confident of repeating the performance in the Wimbledon final on Saturday.

Simona Halep and Serena Williams pose with the winner and runner-up trophies, respectively after the Wimbledon final.   -  Getty Images

Calling her victory over Serena Williams the “match of her life,” Simona Halep credited the way she managed herself, following the breakthrough win at the 2018 French Open, for her latest success.

“I was a little bit exhausted at the end of last year. I took a long holiday, and then I said ‘it's a chill year.’ I meant I wanted to relax as a person, not as a player. I still work hard every day, every match, every tournament. That's why I was able to win this tournament.”

The finals she had lost in the past (French Open 2014, 2017 & Australian Open 2018) also helped her, she said.

“It's never easy in a Grand Slam final. You can get intimidated by the moment. You can get too nervous. So, I didn’t think that much about the trophy, but just try and be the best [I could].”

Before Saturday, Halep’s lone win over Serena was the 6-0, 6-2 drubbing at the WTA Finals in 2014. Pre-match, Serena had even spoken about not letting Halep reach that level.

“I just went for it like in Singapore,” Halep said.

READ | Dominant Halep beats Serena for maiden Wimbledon title

 “I had that image in my head. I really believed there was a chance to do the same thing.”

“I never thought I’ll be able to win on grass with all these tall players serving with power,” added the 27-year-old, who stands at 5 ft 6 in.

“I worked a lot to change my game a little bit to win on grass. I like to run a lot but here you cannot slide. But this year I started to have a feel for it. It was tough to believe that we could win on grass because we don't even have a grass court in Romania!”

On the other hand, Serena, who is yet to win a title of any kind since her return, hoped things would come together soon.

“I just have to figure out a way to win a final. Maybe playing other finals outside of Grand Slams would be really helpful. Just to get into the groove. I just have to keep working and be able to play some tournaments uninjured, like I did here.”