Having gone incredible close in 2014 and 2017 to winning that elusive first Grand Slam title the Romanian turned up in Paris at the end of May 2018 and played like a woman on a mission.
The intensity and the mental strength throughout the process of winning the first Grand Slam was absolutely remarkable.
If anything I look back now and I think to myself, when was the last time someone had that initial heartbreak before winning a major?
A lot of players who have won majors in recent years haven’t had that initial disappointment having lost a final before going to win one but I think it builds you up better for the future it makes you analyse your game more.
If I think back to a male or female player who has had to deal with that initial disappointed of losing finals I would Andy Murray, Amelie Mauresmo, Li Na etc… all of whom are players who for me have done better because they’ve learnt early on.
Wins and titles makes people great but greatness should also be measured on how a player has bounced back as well.
I thought the way Halep played Roland Garros in 2018 was probably the best I’ve seen from a returning wounding champion outside of Murray losing 2012 Wimbledon final and winning in 2013.
It was a difficult draw for Halep, she saw off unpredictable Taylor Townsend with ease and likewise 16th seed Elise Mertens and Andrea Petkovic with the German putting up more of a fight in a 5-7 0-6 defeat.
Against Kerber things did get a little bit sticky having to come from a set down the performance and the mental strength shown by the Romanian told me she was going to win.
Angie is such a difficult opponent on any surface and this was a first challenge for Halep but she conducted herself on the court with perfection likewise to how she did against Sharapova in Rome a couple of weeks before.
At the end of the match, Simona looked up to her box and did this…
This told me she is ready to win this thing. There was no over the top celebration just another box ticked.
Next up Simona defeated Garbine Muguruza with a straight forward performance but the final against Sloane Stephens was another but.
Sloane wow’d us all with her run to the title in New York following months out injured and was once again in a major final.
Her big hitting baseline tennis put her in a good position and for Simona Halep down a set and a break things started to drift.
The mental strength of this woman not just in this match but the tournament following recent heartbreak was faultless. To come from a set and a break down in another major final takes a lot of guts.
This still is one of my favourite tennis memories seeing Halep win her first major following three previous attempts two of which were in Paris. Since then it has been a continuous growth with over seven consecutive years in the top 10 and a Wimbledon title last year!