BUCHAREST, Romania - For Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, the accolades have kept pouring in.
The Romanian's triumphant homecoming this week was bolstered even further by an indication that she will be her country's flag-bearer at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo - and if that long-held dream wasn't enough, the Romanian Presidential Administration announced that the former World No.1 will receive the highest state distinction of the country, the Order of the Romanian Star (Steaua României).
At a reception held at Bucharest's Henri Coanda Airport, Halep said that she had asked Mihai Covaliu, the president of the Romanian Olympic Committee, about the possibility of carrying the national flag in Tokyo - and Covaliu, who was in attendance, had agreed. "It was recorded!" joked Halep, who went on to call an Olympic medal as her "main objective" now.
The Romanian presidential administration also announced yesterday that Halep will be awarded the Order of the Star of Romania, stating in a press release: "As a result of the extraordinary performance at the Wimbledon tennis tournament and as a sign of recognition and appreciation for the whole activity, the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, has decided to award the highest award of the Romanian State, the National Order Steaua României in the Rank of the Knight, to the tennis player Simona Halep.
"Through her dedication, devotion and professionalism, confirmed both on the tennis court and out of the court, Simona Halep has promoted our country's name all over the world. Simona Halep is a model for the younger generation, and her involvement in popularizing tennis among children is a huge gain for the Romanian sports."
In addition, Bucharest's mayor Gabriela Firea announced that a celebration event will be held tomorrow at the city's National Arena in Halep's honour.
At the airport yesterday, Halep thanked those who had helped her before announcing her plans to get some much-needed rest, describing the Wimbledon final as "the perfect match, the perfect day".
Next, though, the two-time major champion will recharge. "I will rest for several days, enjoy the trophy," Halep said. "I have a major goal every week, every tournament is important and I always want the maximum."