Sitting through the Roland Garros trophy ceremony in 2014, thinking “Simo put up an unbelievable fight, her time will come, it’s fine.” Sitting through the 2017 Roland Garros Ceremony thinking “I really wonder what it’s like to lift one of these slam trophies, the pain is very real this time. I feel it. A huge punch to the gut. I really thought it was her time, at her favorite grand slam. ” Sitting through the 2018 Australian Open ceremony thinking “Did it really happen again? What did she do to deserve this fate for a third time? Do the gods want her to have a slam?” June 9th, 2018. The 2018 Roland Garros ceremony. “She did it. We did it. So this is what it feels like. Bliss. Pure bliss.”
The point to the intro is, you will feel many things in times of hardship. But how do you get through them? Realize what the greater goal is after defeat. You feel heartbreak for the first time. You move on, it happens. You feel heartbreak for the second time. You move on, it happens. It really hurts, but it happens. You feel heartbreak for the third time. You don’t want to move on. You start to question everything. But you have to move on. You have to. You wait. Just wait. Sure enough, like the old cliché saying goes… good things come to those who wait. The longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you finally get it. We’ve all felt what that winning a title feeling is like, but never in a slam. We wondered: what can that possibly feel like? You see her serve, you see Sloane Stephens hit a forehand return into the net, you see arms in the air, hands on her face, and you realize… it’s real. How real is it? That’s the feeling I wanted to talk about in this article. Not about the match overall, but the feeling of seeing an idol to so many all over the world win something that she’s never been able to grasp in her lifetime.
I think every Simo fan will tell you after this victory that there are no words to describe this feeling. But I love words. They give us the ability to express ourselves in vivid detail, they give us the ability to let loose, get over our worries, conquer our fears, immerse ourselfs in joyfulness, and paint a picture that is different from every other person in the world. Our words are our own. We may all be celebrating and talking about the same title, but each and every one of us is uniquely describing what it feels like that will be more different from the next person. That’s what makes this so special.
Personally, from the very beginning I had no idea how I would react if this ended in our favor. I still had no idea at 5-1 40-30. When it happens though, it just hits you. Boy oh boy did it ever hit me hard and I know I’m speaking for everyone here. There was no punch to the gut, no tearing up because you had to watch Simo in pain, and no more enduring more agonizing months of waiting. I was standing on championship point, the ball hit the net and I was suddenly on the floor, hands in face? I think that’s how it went. I don’t remember. It happened so fast I just knew I was on the floor. Also the fact that there were definitely plenty of tears streaming down too. I saw Simo also having her hands in her face and I could not believe what was happening. I saw elation on my TL, pure elation. I wept some more for you guys. My happiness was fun, Simo’s happiness was fun, but seeing everyone else explode was better than I ever imagined. I never ever in my lifetime read through so much happiness from her fellow players, neutral fans, and above all… my dear Simo fans. You guys were there being positive when she was going through her worst moments. You made me smile when I didn’t think I could. You guys never gave up. I love you all and you deserve this so much. Like I said, we are all celebrating her greatness at the same time, but each of us felt something different. Whether watching at home, at a party, at a bar, at a family/friend gathering, or with thousands of other fans… we watched it. We really did watch it.
You realize in that moment that it’s real, that the suffering is over, and that we were about to lose our minds in the best of ways. You see her climb the wall and hug her team and her family. You remember what it was like to watch many tennis players do that after winning a grand slam. You say to yourself “I want to see that from MY favorite player.” Well guys, we did. Simo hugged her proud coach Darren tight; the embrace we’ve seen before but you knew this one meant the most. She hugged Mama and Papa Halep, her proud parents. This was likely happening at the same time we were hugging the people we watched the match with. I don’t think there was ever more love at that moment than any other time in our lives as a tennis fan.
She walked up to the podium, waved to the crowd. She spoke. We listened. I feel like I drowned out the noise of every sound in the world to hear her in this moment, a moment where she tried to address so many inspired people all over the world that always wondered what this moment would be like, and realized how hard she worked and believed to get to this very stage. This was not a speech of disappointment, or a speech congratulating the winner, this was Simo on the podium, ON TOP! She had a smile that didn’t say ‘I’m holding back something I don’t want you to see’ but rather, ‘I’m smiling because I did it. This is my time and I’m going to make sure you know how much this means to me’ Last but not least… lifting the trophy. The final stage of this unbelievable day when she showed the world how high she could lift it, how high her spirit was, how bright her smile was, and that nobody was snatching this trophy away from her. We never again have to ask the question of “what would a grand slam trophy look like in Simo’s arms?” It is in her arms. Eyes closed she hugged it like it was her long-lost family member that she never knew how much she loved until it was in her grasp. Hold it tight dear Simo, and don’t worry…. it’s never leaving you anyway.
I hope you enjoyed my description of this moment. I really needed to let it out in the best way I could. June 9th, 2018. Simo’s day. Our day.
One day I will process what happened… but today is not that day.