Simona Halep has won Roland Garros. Simona and her fans have dreamed of this for many years. She’s been so close so many times and suffered lots of heartbreak. People have given her a hard time for not winning. She was considered by many to be the best to have never won a major. “She may be the #1 player in the world, but she only holds one title and that’s the lowest level tournament in WTA.” “She can never win the big match.” Simona shut that all up by winning Roland Garros. Not only is it special to see Simona win a major title, but it’s also relieving to never have to hear any of this anymore. She is a major champion and no one can take that away from her.
I want to give a history of past majors where Simona made deep runs or had some tough losses to give some perspective on what she has achieved by winning her first major.
First off, Simona started out pretty terrible at majors. She made one third round in her first 13 majors. Not the typical start of someone who would become #1 and win a major.
The tough major losses probably begins with her first major final at Roland Garros in 2014. I wouldn’t say this was too disappointing overall. It was her first major final. She was playing a great champion in Sharapova. There’s kind of a sense of just being happy to be there. She was the new kid on the block. People were just learning about her. But as the match went on and Simona fought, it did become a little tough to see her lose. There was the feeling she’d have been a deserving winner.
The next tough defeat was the next major at Wimbledon. Simona would lose in the semifinals to Eugeine Bouchard. Simona turned her ankle in the first set and wasn’t quite the same after that. It was a big chance to make a final. To have her body break down was difficult, especially now seeing how each of their careers have played out. I don’t think Simona would’ve beaten Petra Kvitova in the final, but the only chance you have is by being in the match.
I just shouldn’t be a fan of WTA players. Such heartbreak. 😦 🐐
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) July 3, 2014
2015 Australian Open. Maybe this one doesn’t seem obvious. But there seemed to be magic at this tournament. Her fans felt it. Simona was cruising through the opening rounds, having not dropped a set heading into the quarterfinals. This tournament was the start of the Halepeno shirts. Her team was wearing them in her box. Also, Simona was wearing a nice outfit by Adidas. It was purple and she also wore a cute hat during some of her matches. Everything was so perfect. Then Makarova crushed all our hopes and dreams. This one hurt. The tournament provided many great moments and memories.
Look at those shirts 🐐’s box is wearing! Do they sell those?!?!
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) January 19, 2015
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) January 20, 2015
The world famous cap!
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) January 27, 2015
2015 US Open. One of the harder ones to take. A semifinal loss to Flavia Pennetta. Serena was undefeated in majors on the year heading into her semifinal. Then one of the biggest upsets occurred with Roberta Vinci taking down Serena. Had Simona won her semifinal, it would’ve been Vinci as her opponent in the final. You gotta feel like she would’ve won.
Simona tho. This could’ve been hers 😭
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) September 11, 2015
2017 Roland Garros. Simona’s second major final. Long awaited. Three full years since her last. Also playing for #1 in the world. Playing an unseeded player in Ostapenko, who had never won a WTA or major tournament. A match you feel good about on paper. Then the unthinkable happened up a set, 3-0, and a point for 4-0. Ostapenko would get on a roll and get some luck as well with some net cords. Fairly devastating result with two big dreams just a few games away.
Roland Garros and heartbreaking, soul crushing losses. I know this feeling all too well, but it hurts just as badly as the first.
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) June 10, 2017
2017 Wimbledon. Playing for world #1. Simona got a minibreak in the tiebreak and was two points away from winning. She would lose the tiebreak and match. I don’t think she’d have won the tournament, but I think she’d have made the final. What really made this loss so hard was being so close to #1.
Very painful loss to say the least. Proud of Simona’s play though. She played well.
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) July 11, 2017
2017 US Open. For me, probably the toughest of all the major losses. Simona went into the tournament #1 in the live ranking, thus, having the best shot at becoming world #1 during the US Open. She controlled her own destiny. Then she got dealt Sharapova in the opening round, who she’d never beaten at the time. She lost. The way the rest of the tournament went, made it even more difficult. The other players did just enough to be #1. Then the players who were in the final were two players Simona had dominated. Simona just beat Sloane twice in the US Open series and was 5-2 against her. Simona was 5-1 against Keys. This was a tournament I felt Simona would’ve won, had she not gotten Sharapova in the first round. She had a great draw (after the first round) to make a deep run.
My thoughts on Simona’s match pic.twitter.com/xEoU0MZr1P
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) August 29, 2017
Simona is 11-3 against the three remaining players. 10-0 since Sydney 2014.
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) September 8, 2017
If Simona had gotten any other player in R1, she’d be in SF’s and be #1.
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) September 6, 2017
2018 Australian Open. After two straight first round losses at the tournament, expectations were low. Simona got into some long matches. She faced three match points against Lauren Davis in the third round. Lauren got a cramp in her toe at that time and impacted her movement on the points. Simona would save the match points and go on to win the match 15-13. Simona would have another long match in the semifinals against Kerber. She would win 9-7 in the third to head into the final. I was kind of just happy to be there after two matches like that. Caroline Wozniacki was her opponent in the final. The battle of the best to never win a major in a major final. Good storyline. Simona got an advantage 4-3 in the third set. Then Caroline took a controversial medical timeout for her knee. Simona wouldn’t win another game. Caroline never seemed to be bothered by that knee during play. She didn’t wear any tape on that knee a few days later in a match she played in Russia. That’s what made the loss difficult. Caroline seemed to use the medical timeout to her advantage to throw Simona off her game. She wasn’t really injured.
A great match. Both players deserved to win. I just wish Simona had anything left in her. It’d have been hers. I can’t imagine how she feels after putting that much fight and effort into it. She must be so empty.
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) January 27, 2018
Simona played in three of “the matches of the tournament” https://t.co/agdGmNMti9
— Casey Bray • (@NoleLisickiFam) January 27, 2018
I’ve had experience with many big matches in the past. I’m also superstitious about what I did prior to those finals and what ended up happening. For this final, I did a few things for good luck. A few years ago, I remember getting Pizza Hut and watching Simona play at Rogers Cup. She won that tournament. So naturally, I had to get Pizza Hut the night before this final. When Nole won Roland Garros in 2016, I rented a movie (Joy) and watched it the night before. I feel it’s a good way to relax before a big match to take your mind off it. The day before the final, I got an email saying I could get a rental at half price, so, of course, I rented another movie. It had to be a Jennifer Lawrence film because that’s what it was when Nole won Roland Garros, so I settled on ‘Mother!’ (It was really weird and I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it). The last prematch decision I needed to make was the shirt I would wear during the match. I wore the Halepeno shirt for last years Roland Garros and Cincy finals, so I wasn’t going to do that again after she lost both matches. I wore my other Simona shirt for this final. It’s a photo of her fist pumping. The last thing I did out of superstition was to stop tweeting during the match. When Nole won Roland Garros, I didn’t spend a second on Twitter during the match. When the match wasn’t going Simona’s way early on, I decided it’d be best to stop tweeting and looking at Twitter for good luck. I guess since Simona won I made all the right decisions to put her in position to win the match lol. But seriously, I just wanted to share some of my prematch routine and superstitions.
Going into the match, it felt like her time to win her first major. Maybe it feels like that before every big match, but this time WAS different. This was the first time she held a winning record against her opponent going into a major final. She trailed the head to head 0-3 against Sharapova heading into the 2014 Roland Garros final. She had never played Ostapenko when they met in the 2017 Roland Garros final. She trailed the head to head with Wozniacki 2-4 when they met in the 2018 Australian Open final. Simona held the head to head lead against Stephens 5-2 heading into this 2018 Roland Garros final. Not only did she hold the head to head lead, but Stephens is a player I held a lot of confidence against for Simona. I saw Simona beat Stephens 6-2, 6-1 in Cincy in person just last year before Sloane would win the US Open. Simona also beat Stephens at the Citi Open. It was hard to accept seeing Sloane win that US Open when we had beaten her twice during the US Open series. Simona was better than her. We saw it just weeks beforehand. She could’ve won that tournament had she gotten a draw like Sloane got.
Another reason it felt like Simona’s time was the number of final losses: 3. This was her fourth major final. It took Djokovic four Roland Garros finals to win it. The same for Federer. It wasn’t Simona’s fourth Roland Garros final, but it was her fourth major final. That isn’t quite the same thing, but, to me, it was a good sign. Also, it was her fourth chance at #1 in which she achieved the top ranking. 4 seems to be a lucky number for breakthroughs.
What also made it feel like Simona’s time was everything she’d gone through. All the major final losses. Everything she’d learned from them. Simona also got a lot more mentally strong since those finals losses. That’s how she learned from them. Improving her mental stability during her matches when things weren’t going well or she missed a ball she knew she shouldn’t have. This was something she struggled with a lot. The last missing piece to an otherwise flawless player. Darren helped her a great deal in this regard. We really saw this in the semifinal against Muguruza.
Muguruza usually gets hot for a tournament and wins it. She’s not a consistent player like Simona, so when she goes far, she usually wins the tournament. Meeting her in the semifinals just after she had crushed Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 was not ideal. We trailed the head to head 1-3 going into the match. Garbine is a player I don’t have a lot of confidence playing against. I saw her crush Simona in that Cincy final last year. Let me tell you, it’s tough to watch one of your favorite players lose a big match so easily, as you watch in the stands, especially when she was trying to become world #1 in that match. Even though I wasn’t optimistic for that match either, you still don’t expect to only win one game in a final. Hard to forget seeing a match like that and the feelings it gave you.
This match went so differently than I and others expected. Simona came out blazing to win the first set 6-1. It got tricky in the second set. Garbine started to find her range. She led 4-2. Simona wouldn’t fold though. She dug deep to even it up at 4-4. The pivotal game of the match was the 4-4 game. A 7 deuce game where Simona faced 3 break points. She held onto it and broke Garbine’s will, breaking her at love for the match. Simona pointed to her head after the match like Stan Wawrinka often does, showing that she won because of her mental strength and intelligence. That was the moment it felt like Simona’s time.
Match and Emotions
The match didn’t start off the way I expected. Sloane was much better than I ever remember her being. Maybe I should’ve been worried? It just seemed like Sloane would track down every shot Simona hit. Simona would have to paint lines with every shot to get the ball past her. Those matches Simona dominated during the US Open series a year ago were on hard court. Maybe it was easier for Simona to hit through Sloane on a faster surface. Maybe the slow clay is actually helping Sloane. Not only was Sloane getting to every ball, but she wasn’t missing. It’s not like Simona was playing bad. She just wasn’t getting any free points.
First set 6-3 Stephens.
Every loss comes flooding back. This can’t be happening. We’ve learned the lessons. It has to be our time. It does. What more pain can you possibly put us through? Why? Simona is such a sweet girl. She doesn’t deserve this fate again. At this point I had to remind myself of a line from one of my favorite movies, 500 Days of Summer. “Coincidence, that’s all anything ever is, nothing more than coincidence…There are no miracles. There’s no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be.” It calmed me down. Just because Simona was in the final, doesn’t mean it’s her time. Simona would have to win the match. Sloane wasn’t going to roll over. It wasn’t going to be handed to Simona. She had to earn it.
Looking back, it was kind of the same feeling as Nole’s 2016 Roland Garros title in that moment. He lost the first set. A lot of the same thoughts ran through my head. It had to be his time. I didn’t use the quote in that match, I changed up my superstitions after that first set. But back to Simona.
Something started to happen at the end of the first set. I felt Simona’s level rising. Just like Wawrinka’s did in the 2015 Roland Garros final. Stan lost the first set to Nole, but his level got better and better throughout the set. I remember rewatching this match and that’s what struck me. How Nole was kind of lucky he held on to win that first set. That’s how I felt in this final about Simona’s level after the first set. For example, in that final game, Simona got her first break point against Sloane. A sign her game was starting to crack through Sloane’s armor.
Sure the second set didn’t start off great either. Simona got broken in a 2 deuce game, after saving three break points. Then Sloane held for 2-0. A set and a break in a Roland Garros final. Kind of fitting what would take place following this, considering it was Simona who led by a set and a break one year ago against Ostapenko. We would see the good signs from Simona that we saw at the end of the first set. Simona would win four straight games to lead 4-2. Then a shocking service game where she got broken to love. It came out of nowhere and we were back in a battle.
The moment of the match happened at the end of the second set. It was 4-4, 30-30. Simona was 6 points from another major final loss. The nervousness of this moment may not resonate, since Simona never trailed after that point. I remember realizing how close it was to being over. Just after Simona looked like she’d cruise through the set. Now we were just a few points from losing. It was so sudden. In this moment, as a fan, it’s not easy to believe, after witnessing prior matches not go her way. We were lucky to not have faced a break point or go deep into the set. Simona would go on to take care of business. I had to go back and rewatch the end of the set to grasp what happened, since it was such an emotional part of the match. So lets go through those pivotal points of the match.
4-4, 30-30. Simona gets a short ball from Sloane. She immediately runs towards it without any hesitation. She punishes a forehand cross court for a winner.
4-4, 40-30. Simona crushes a forehand cross court then punishes Sloane’s reply down the line. Sloane is forced into an error.
Two huge points. Two points Simona dictated. She wasn’t afraid to go for it.
5-4. Simona misses a backhand down the line. Again, going for it. She’s visibly frustrated. But doesn’t harp on it. She goes to work. Digs in her heels. Fights. She gets it to 30-15 with some defense, before another miss where she’s visibly frustrated. Again, she doesn’t give in. Now it’s time to go for it. She forces Sloane into another error for a set point. A simple return in play and Sloane misses a routine backhand terribly. Simona is into a third set.
Simona played perfectly at the end of the second set. The things she was criticized for in the past, she overcame in these points. Critics said she needed to go for it in the big moments. She did. Simona would get frustrated by missing a shot and let it impact the following points. This time she didn’t. In the biggest moments in the match, she overcame her demons. Her mentality was on full display. How much she’s improved in that area. That was the reason she won. She didn’t falter in the biggest moments. It was Sloane who was nervous.
Considering the lead Simona had in last years final, no lead felt safe. So as the games went by, it still didn’t feel over. I don’t know when exactly it started to sink in. Maybe 4-0. That I felt like Simona was going to win. Then I got a strong desire for the bagel. To further shove it down the haters throats who didn’t want Simona to win a major. Who joked about her losses and said she’d never win. Well look here, we just won a deciding set in a major final 6-0. How does it taste?
I also felt emotional at the moment it felt like she’d win. I always feel, as a fan, you have to put yourself in that mindset before the moment of a big victory. It shows how important a win it is to you. You want to celebrate it initially in a joyous manner. This isn’t just another match. It’s an important one. You have to show that. I usually think about all the tough moments. The losses. The times we were so close. What my thoughts were at the time. How bad I felt. Usually that starts a point or two away from match point, but it creeps up on me a little earlier when there’s a sizable lead. I was also thinking of my dog at this time too. Who reminded me so much of Simona with her fighting spirit. Simona is known as fighter girl. My dog was a fighter girl too. She lived nearly 2.5 years, after we were told she had days to weeks remaining in her life.
Then my mindset kind of changed. Simona had lost a game. I felt the emotion slipping. I didn’t feel like she’d lose the match. I was a little concerned, but not very much. Even in the final points, I couldn’t quite get the emotion back to what it was earlier, but that’s okay. It was still emotional seeing the ball go into the net on championship point and realizing Simona was the winner. I teared up and put my hands over my face. Then uncovered my eyes to watch Simona celebrate. It was cool to see her go into the stands for her team. That was an emotional moment. Seeing her hug Darren who meant so much to her achieving this victory. Then to see her with her parents. Those were terrific moments. There were also so funny moments like how she was boosted into the stands to go see her team and when she didn’t hug Virginia Ruzici.
It was nice to see her get the trophy that she’s been chasing. Seeing her lift the trophy was cool and kind of funny when she had to be told to keep celebrating by Sloane. It didn’t make me that emotional though. I smiled and was happy to see it, but for me, seeing her with her team in the stands was more emotional and meaningful.
There’s a few other things I haven’t been able to talk about up to this point, so I wanted to provide those takes as well.
The only match of Simona’s I watched during Roland Garros was the final. I feel ashamed to say that. I always feel like watching the journey to major wins is important. To see as many matches as possible when one of your favorites win. But there was a few things preventing that. I definitely had opportunities in the early rounds. There might’ve been a match or two she was scheduled first on during the week, which would’ve meant setting my alarm for 5 AM on a work day, after a night of trying to get my puppies tired out for the night, so they could go to bed. Sleep is valuable when you have puppies. There was only one match, other than the final, she played that was on the weekend. I think I was awake during the match, but I didn’t turn the match on. I was checking the scores to see how it was going. It was going well, so I didn’t need to worry about her losing. Simona’s quarterfinal and semifinal was played during the week during work, so I couldn’t watch those either, but I followed closely on live scores. That can be emotional, but not quite as much as when you watch the match. I was going to take off to watch her semifinal had she played Sharapova, but when her opponent was Muguruza, I didn’t think it was worth it, as I didn’t think she stood a chance to win.
I feel like, not having watched her matches, it takes some of the emotion away from her winning it. I didn’t see most of her journey. I did go back and watch the end of the Muguruza match, but that was all I saw prior to the final. That wasn’t live, which takes emotion away, knowing she’ll win. I think it matters more for majors than other tournaments. I feel like if the only match you watch of a Premier 5 or something is a final, then you don’t miss a beat. You follow the player regularly. Go ahead and just watch her win the final. I don’t feel watching the other matches is all that important to enjoying the feeling of winning the tournament. Maybe because there’s less matches and chances to watch. Majors are the most important tournaments in our sport. They’re remembered a lot more. You’d like to see the entire journey to such a special moment, so I’m sad I didn’t make some more effort. I think it’d have made it a little more special for me seeing her win the tournament. At the same time, I know a lot of her journey to winning her first major. I’ve seen her other major finals. I’ve seen her failures in majors. I think those were more important than the beginning matches of the tournament I didn’t follow closely, but I’d still like to have seen her play more during the tournament.
Simona is my first WTA fave to win a major. Long awaited. I’ve had WTA players I liked win majors since I started following tennis. Kerber, Sharapova, and Azarenka. I enjoyed seeing them win majors, but they weren’t my favorite players. It’s not the quite the same feeling or as emotional.
Wozniacki was my favorite WTA player for 2011-2012. She didn’t win a major during that time, but she did win the Australian Open this year. I wasn’t a fan of hers when she won it, but it was still a landmark moment, since she was a former fave. A player I considered my favorite at one time had now won a major. Of course it didn’t count as a fave win, but it was nice to know someone I had fave feelings for could win a major.
Lisicki has been my favorite player since 2012. (She shared fave status with Caroline in 2012). She was my first WTA fave to make a major final, while I was a fan, when she did so at Wimbledon 2013. That was a special tournament for me. I saw her journey to make that final. Two classic matches against Serena and Aga. It was an indescribable feeling seeing her make the final because it was so unexpected.
Simona has been my second favorite player since 2014. Sabine is still my #1, but how I feel about Simona is enough to consider her a fave. Winning Roland Garros makes Simona my first WTA fave to win a major. On the men’s side, I’ve watched Nole win 11 majors as my favorite. I always kind of wondered how it’d be to see one of my favorite women win a major. It took a long time. 30 majors. A fave of mine made 5 of those finals. It feels great to be able to say a WTA fave of mine has won a major now. I no longer have to think about it, as sometimes it would creep into my mind, wondering if it’d ever happen.
It’s kind of fitting Simona’s journey to her first major was a long and difficult one. I don’t know what it is about me, but many of my favorite players/teams in all of sports seem to have a hard time winning the big titles. I mean, I guess there aren’t many elite teams in the world of sports. No one wins everything every year. I’ve grown up in an area where losing is normal, so maybe I’m a little more sensitive to it. Our professional sports team have never won a championship. The Buffalo Bills made four straights Super Bowls and lost each one. Then they went on a 17 year playoff drought. All I’ve known in my life is them not making the playoffs. The Buffalo Sabres made two Stanley Cup finals and lost both. We should’ve won it in 2006, but we suffered so many injuries to our defense that derailed our chances. We haven’t made the playoffs since 2011.
The only real winner I grew up into was the New York Yankees. My family loves them, so of course I had to be a fan too. I feel that prestige being a fan of them. How great of a team they are. I feel superior to the other teams, having won so many championships. That’s the only sports team/player I’m a fan of that I can feel that way for. But even having won all those titles, only one of the five championships I’ve been alive for, do I have any memory of. They were dominating before I was even ten years old and could remember it. All I remember was growing up thinking it was normal for them to win the World Series every year. My actual first memory watching their games was when they lost the World Series in 2001. It was late at night and I wasn’t allowed to stay up and watch, but I did anyway. I saw Louis Gonzalez get the game winning hit and threw my Yankee bandana after they lost. It was my first real sports disappointment. In reality, the Yankees are 1 for 17 in winning titles since I was old enough to appreciate them. That’s a lot more losing than winning. Three teams have won more World Series in that time than the Yankees. Even though the Yankees have accomplished a lot, I’ve been apart of more losing than winning.
So I grew up into these teams at not the most ideal time, but then when I could start to choose my own favorites, I still seemed to pick these players/teams more known for losing than winning. Peyton Manning is a great example. He’s my favorite football player. One of the best to ever play the sport. He has all the individual records, but was known for never being able to win the big one. Then when he did, it still wasn’t enough. It took him 9 years to win his first championship and another 9 to win his second. He’d lose the first round of the playoffs most years and was always given slack for that. An unfair criticism in a team sport.
I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of Alexander Ovechkin. I don’t watch their games that often, but he’s a player I would root for every year in the playoffs. I guess maybe the best way I could explain it is I admire him and his abilities. He’s such a great hockey player, but could never win the Stanley Cup. Then he finally did just a few days before Simona won Roland Garros. In his 13th season as an NHL player. A long road for such a great player to earn a championship.
Finally, tennis. Novak Djokovic was the player I was drawn to when I first really started to follow the sport closely. He was under the shadow of Federer and Nadal. No matter what he did, it was never enough. He’s an all time great who doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves. His journey to win his first Roland Garros was a long and difficult one, just like Simona. He was known as the best player to never win Roland Garros or complete the career grand slam. He’d handed Nadal only his second loss at Roland Garros and couldn’t even win the title. He was given a lot of slack for that and there were many jokes about it. A year later, he’d have the last laugh by winning the title and not only completing a career grand slam, but a real one, by winning his fourth consecutive major. It took him 12 tries before he finally won the title.
Simona’s journey to winning Roland Garros was very similiar to my other teams/players, as described earlier. Even when I was able to choose my favorite players/teams, I still seemed to go with the ones who had the toughest journeys, before finally reaching the pinnacle of sport. I don’t know if it’s part of who I am and what I grew up into, but I love to see someone earn a title after many years of trying and failing. It’s more special that way. I feel that’s how you’re supposed to win them. It shouldn’t come so easily because it’s not easy. That’s what made losing to Ostapenko in last years final so hard. It was only her 8th major. Not the most difficult path. She didn’t deserve it like Simona did. I like seeing someone try and fail, then get back up, and win. It makes you appreciate it more. After seeing all Simona’s failures at majors, I can say, it makes seeing her win one that much sweeter.
As a Simona fan there were two big dreams I and many other of her fans had. Those were to win a major and become world #1. Now she has accomplished both of those feats, so what should be the new goals?
For me, I’d love to see her win Cincy. It’s the tournament I attend each year and I’d love to see her win the title. She’s made two finals there and always seems to play so well during that time of the year. Another title I’d like to see her win is WTA Finals. Although after the last three years, I’m so scarred from that tournament, I’ve given up hope. It’d still be a nice tournament to win. She played so well there in 2014 and those memories are still fresh from making the final. It’d be great if things could finally fall her way in group play.
Of course we dream to win more majors. Another Roland Garros would be special. But, for me, the dreams could be even bigger. Simona has the game that can win on any surface. A career grand slam could be possible, especially now with all the confidence she’s gained from winning a major. She’s made semifinals or better at each major. She made the Australian Open final, so why can’t she go one step further? She made the semifinals of the 2015 US Open and probably should’ve won that tournament, given it would’ve been Vinci in the final and not Serena. I believe she would’ve won it last year had she not been dealt Sharapova in the first round. She always plays well during the US summer hard court season, so I’d say it’s the most likely major she wins outside of Paris. The toughest one for Simona to win I would say is Wimbledon. She’s a capable grass court player and has made quarterfinals or better in three of the last four Wimbledon’s. The thing with grass though is that it’s usually the big hitters that win it. One player always seems to get hot and smash winners all over the place. At one point or another, I probably would’ve said each of the majors is her most likely to win, so I know she’s very capable at each one. She’s so consistent that if she keeps putting herself in position, she may run into some luck. This would be a big dream and we’re so far away from it, with only one of the crown jewels so far, but this is something she’s capable of achieving. She’s THAT good. Staying motivated and making new goals will be important now after she’s achieved her dream of winning Roland Garros. Health always plays a role too. Hopefully she’s still hungry to win the biggest trophies in the sport and to fight for them. If so, anything is possible.