SIMONA HALEP, after humbling Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 in the Wimbledon singles final yesterday.
Williams has always embraced her role as a champion of gender equality and that was on show in a recent essay she penned for Harper's Bazaar in which she addressed her controversial US Open final against Naomi Osaka previous year.
It worked and then some as Halep broke into the opening game and then again to go 4-0 up after 11 minutes.
Serena Williams' tennis career will come to an end one day but her determination to fight for equality won't.
While Halep fell to her knees to celebrate her win and kissed the trophy repeatedly, she seemed nearly as pleased to be wearing a little badge that meant she was now a member of the All England Club.
"Today I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of [a] Grand Slam, not on [Williams]", she added later. You can get intimidated by the moment.
Williams also lost in straight sets against Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final a year ago, and against Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open last September. It's something special and I'll never forget this day. She defeated Giulia Gatto-Monticone in two sets in the first round but had to play to 7 games in the second set to do it. "Just stop all this insanity because she is trying to be everything". He told me: "'Any time you want, you can come, have dinner, have lunch, playing a little bit tennis.' I will come for sure". So today it's real and I'm really happy.
Halep weathered the squall, then reeled off the last five games of what she described as the match of her life. Indeed when she was asked when she started to truly think that winning Wimbledon was possible she was blunt.
"The biggest key with our matches is the loss that I had".
Williams has won only two of her past six finals in Slams. "You can get nervous, too nervous", she said.
Not this time. Halep had lost nine of her 10 matches against Williams but on Friday she spent 30 minutes practising her returns, knowing that she had to face down the American's barrage to have any chance of getting into the match.
"So here I am", she said Saturday, the fortnight done, her trophy won.
After the match, Williams said playing against Halep made her feel like a "deer in the headlights".
However, the motivation for Halep was far greater as she focused more about the title than who her opponent was.