Simona Halep admits that she “didn’t have the courage” to believe that she might one day win Wimbledon.
The WTA World No.2 is the defending champion at the All-England Club, having lifted the title in 2019 following a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Serena Williams – her second major crown after winning the French Open a year previous.
It was a career goal that the Romanian has confessed that she never expected to achieve.
“It was a dream - although more for my parents! Every player dreams to win Wimbledon, but I didn't have the courage to think I would be there one day. Winning was huge,” she told BBC Sport.
“My mother always said one day if I could play a final at Wimbledon it would be great because I was at the highest level of tennis.”
Indeed, she now finds herself in the almost unique position of not having to defend the title because of the tournament’s cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I'm the Wimbledon champion for two years - I love that! I have one more year to enjoy it more, it is huge,” she said. “And I have received some towels, a cap and a T-shirt from Wimbledon - so it made me feel like I'm playing this year.”
Meanwhile, she admitted that there was a downside to winning the trophy at SW19 – the prospect of having to dance at the gala with men’s champion Novak Djokovic, something she elected to politely decline.
“I was very stressed and I asked if I had to do it. They said it was up to me, but I said: ‘No thanks.’ I didn't want to fall over!” she laughed.
Halep, who reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, was last in action in Dubai in February, a tournament that she won thanks to a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5(5) triumph over Elena Rybakina in the final.