After her French Open triumph last year, Simona Halep had scaled new heights.
And she astounded those on Centre Court on Saturday by routing Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final – 6-2, 6-2.
The Romanian – who lifted her maiden title at SW19 – was breathtaking with a combination of finesse and power. On serve, she was impeccable and her athleticism and anticipation was too much for the American.
Her comments earlier this week of having a more ‘chilled’ year may have rattled the game’s elite who would say that winning a Slam is merely a stepping stone to further success. Halep has had her fair share of disappointments over the past years, including missing out on the coveted world No 1 spot.
John McEnroe was left shocked by Halep’s 56-minute demolition as he said: “I'm shocked. She obviously is tremendous and, at this stage in her career, the superior athlete.
Simona Halep proudly holds the Venus Rosewater dish
Image credit: Getty Images
“But I didn't think it would intimidate Serena Williams as much as it did today.
“Serena seemed somewhat shocked, and I didn't think that would be the case with the experience she has.
Halep completely and thoroughly outplayed her. It wasn't even a match.
“There's only a handful of times in your life when you feel as though you're in the zone like that and that was one of them.”
Halep is now ice-cool in the pressure moments and perhaps being more ‘chilled’ certainly helps.
You only have to look at the likes of Naomi Osaka who seemed to have crumbled under the weight of expectation when she was world No 1.
In an era where the stakes are much higher, having a calmer perspective can go a long way.
Halep personifies this and, with years left ahead of her in the game, she now has an opportunity to herald a period of domination.
While the ‘chilled’ remark may come as a surprise, she is catching fire at just the right time.