One of my favourite tennis memories.
I’ve never been so inspired by what Simona Halep did last year at Roland Garros and a picture to sum it up.
You need no words.
This picture is from her 6-7 6-3 6-2 win against Angelique Kerber in the quarter finals of Roland Garros still two wins away from winning the title but this said to me, I’m locked in and ready to win this.
Her next performance was vintage Halep 6-1 6-4 against Muguruza before the final.
I remember watching and it was some fight. A set down when Sloane took 6-3 lead I thought she still has this and thought back to that moment against Kerber but a set and break down I was nervous but wow the mental strength she showed to win from a set and a break down barring in mind she’s already lost two Roland Garros finals and in Melbourne lost to Wozniacki in the final a few months before was special!
No were into new territory for the former number one.
Defending her title, but is she favourite?
I’d say so. She’s done it before and played very good tennis of late. Is she at her best? No but there is time to find it at a major.
If I were to put together a list of top clay court players right now she’d be up there but would also be weary of what Bertens and Kvitova could bring to the court which we have seen on the clay over the last year but Pliskova to if she can get momentum going following illness.
The intensity of those two weeks last year was out of this world, it was verging on uncomfortable from a fan’s perspective but she held it together better than anyone.
It has been a long twelve months since she won the title and it has been quite up and down since but when she plays with that swagger in her movement and can push off the forehand she is dangerous.
I saw her twice in Madrid against Bencic and Bertens and she may have lost the final to Kiki but her performance was still good and she was so dominating against Bencic.
Will she defend her title?
Heart says yes but my head say maybe not. I think there are greater obstacles but I do expect her to find top gear as the tournament progresses.