Winning Wimbledon for the first time is a hugely exciting moment – but so is meeting The Duchess of Cambridge. For new champion Simona Halep, the chance to do both came on Saturday afternoon, and she was a little overwhelmed. The Romanian player, who beat seven-time winner Serena Williams in straight sets, was clearly thrilled about her victory, her second grand slam following her French Open win in 2018. Interviewed by the BBC after the match, she said "I didn't know how to react…It's beautiful and you just try to enjoy it."
Simona Halep is a big fan of Wimbledon and of British royalty
Beating Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in such a high-pressure game was clearly a thrill, and Simona seemed touched when Serena complimented Simona's skill, telling Sue Barker in an on-court interview after the match: "She literally played out of her mind. Whenever a player plays that amazing you just have to take your hat off." If you are that player, you might also have to do a curtsey.
In Simona's courtside interview, Sue asked if it was true that the presence of the royal family was part of the reason she had found the prospect of playing in a Wimbledon final so exciting, and Simona admitted it was, saying, "It's an honour to play in front of the royal box, thank you." Sue then raised something that Simona had said earlier in the week, reminding her, "You mentioned in your press conference that you hoped the Duchess of Cambridge would be here today," Simona nodded and smiled.
Kate and Meghan were joined at the women's final by Kate's sister Pippa Middleton
Sue then pointed out that both Kate and Meghan Markle were in attendance and told Simona that it didn't end there: that as patron of the All-England Club, Kate would want to congratulate her in person. "You'll go the royal box and you'll probably meet them," Sue told her. "That's amazing, I didn't know that," Simona beamed. The camera panned to Kate and Meghan, who looked at each other and laughed fondly. "It's even more special now," Simona said.
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The BBC's coverage of the match extended to the behind-the-scenes meeting between Simona and the duchess, which showed Simona being introduced to Kate and performing a curtsey before they exchanged pleasantries. "Really well done, it was so inspiring to watch, you played an incredible game, congratulations," Kate said as Simona thanked her. Later, Simona posted on Twitter: "Today I dared to dream and the dream came true!"
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