Thousands cheered for the Roland Garros champion, the Romanian Simona Halep, at the National Arena in Bucharest
A healthy nation only celebrates its true heroes, those
whose careers, regardless of the field, are built on talent and effort, rather
than cheating. And the 26-year old Simona Halep, who won her first Roland
Garros trophy, is such a person.
This is probably why the tens of thousands who came to
Bucharest's National Arena to celebrate her, booed the Mayor General of the
capital city, Gabriela Firea, who they felt only came to capitalise on this
great day for Romanian sports and to derive electoral profits from it.
Over 20,000 people made a point of attending the event
on Romania's largest stadium, to pay tribute to their exceptional compatriot.
Two well-known artists sang the national anthem, just as Simona's hundreds of
supporters had done at the end of the match in Paris. Romanians of all ages
carried flags and chanted Simona's name, while the champion, holding a trophy
replica and wearing the outfit in which she had defeated the American Sloane
Stephens on Saturday, thanked them.
Simona Halep: "Thank you
all for coming here. I very much wanted to be here because I wanted all of us
to share this moment. The joy is even greater than on the tennis court in
Paris. Thank you so much. It is a very special moment. I am very proud to be
Romanian. These performances were built entirely in our country. I have always
trained here. I was brought up here and I have always believed that you can
achieve great things even if you come from a smaller country."
After having lost 3 Grand Slam finals, 2 of them in
Paris in 2014 and 2017, and the third one this year at the Australian Open,
Simona Halep, world number one for over 30 weeks, triumphed at the French Open,
impressing top-level opponents, former tennis celebrities and experts with her
physical and mental strength, her skills and her stamina.
It was the third match in Paris in which the Romanian
made a comeback and won after having lost the first set. And jointly with her
excellent coach, the Australian Darren Cahill, the Romanian is determined to
carry on for many years and to follow the advice of the former great champion
Ilie Nastase, who urged her to keep playing in Grand Slams.
This was Simona Halep's 31st final and 17th
title. Her Roland Garros trophy comes exactly 10 years after she had won the
juniors' even in the same competition, 4 decades after the first Romanian win
in Roland Garros, by Virginia Ruzici, and 45 years since Ilie Nastase won the
French Open and the hearts of the French tennis lovers with his delightful
style. Today, with Simona Halep, they have a worthy heir.