Women - To the beat of the metronome - Sport
After her smooth two-set victory in the semifinals, Simona Halep prepares for her first Wimbledon final, in which she meets Serena Williams.
Simona Halep's new love is the lawn tennis, because she finally knows how to play on this green surface: something like on red sand. Long baseline favorites were the 27-year-old Romanian, a former world number one, on Thursday with her opponent, Ukrainian Jelena Switolina. With this tactic, she has earned a place in the final of Wimbledon for the first time in his career.
The first two games alone lasted twenty minutes. Pop, pop, pop and pop - the ball flew from one side to the other almost as if in time with a metronome. The spectators on Center Court turned their heads rhythmically, and Halep later admitted that she had chosen a relatively straining strategy on this underground. The third game she promptly lost herself. Then she had played her opponent tired, won the match 6: 1, 6: 3 and again knew that it is helpful to believe in yourself when pursuing a path.
Halep grew up in Konstanza, on the Black Sea, "where there is plenty of beach, water and fresh air," she told Wimbledon when she first became the center of attention. Five years ago she had reached the semi-finals in the All England Club, but unfortunately lost after an ankle injury. Anyway, she thought that the lawn games contradicted her style of ball-playing, she preferred clay courts and hard courts, the linings of her youth. It was not until this week that she relinquished her reluctance.
Simona Halep's psychologist has taught the Romanian girl to accept mistakes as part of the game
For years, she has been one of the best in her field, but the very big titles were denied until she finally won the French Open in 2018. Only this June, when her defending mission failed, the moment has come, she says, who has changed her view of the life of a professional athlete. She lost in the Paris quarter-final against Amanda Anisimova from the US and saw that for Grand Slam winners, the world continues to turn after a defeat: "Nobody died." Relaxed, she traveled to London: Maybe, she thought, it worked with the lawn. She resolved to follow the advice of the psychologist she worked with for two years and who taught her to accept mistakes as part of the game. In the past she often thought "too complicated and then made the wrong decision." Today she knows the simple tactic sometimes leads straight to the finish.
In the final Halep is now facing Serena Williams: The 23-time Grand Slam winner had lost in 2018 the final against Angelique Kerber on Center Court. On Saturday, at age 37, Williams will make another attempt to earn title number 24 in the major tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) and draw with the now 76-year-old record holder Margaret Court (Australia). In the semifinals, she had an easy game with Barbora Strycova at 6: 1 and 6: 2. Not the easiest task that Simona Halep expects, but she realizes that she has a chance, even on grass: "I feel mentally stronger when I meet them." She just has to keep the game simple: Plopp, plopp, plopp, like a metronome.