Simona Halep finally learned to love all the idiosyncrasies on offer at Wimbledon when she lifted the title in 2019, and freely admits she isn’t ready to let them go.

“I like tradition,” she said after a straightforward victory over Magdalena Freçh. “I like what's happening here in Wimbledon, it's pretty special, with all white and this stuff.”

In the three years since the former world No. 1 last appeared at the All England Club—sitting out the tournament in 2021 due to a calf injury—one major tradition has disappeared with the removal of Middle Sunday, but with a little lucky scheduling, Halep can nonetheless reset before the second week.

“I'm not playing, so...yeah, I will enjoy!”

Halep has come to life at SW19 after several months of inconsistency and upheaval, the nadir coming at Roland Garros, when she suffered a panic attack during a three-set defeat to Zheng Qinwen.


“I think that was a good experience for me,” she reflected in her pre-Wimbledon press conference. “Hopefully it doesn't happen again because I didn't like it.

“It was coming from nowhere because I was leading the match. Probably just the pressure of the tournament, the fact that I struggled last year. I didn't believe that I'm strong enough probably.

“Now I feel stronger and I feel that if it's going to happen again, I will know how to handle it.”

The two-time major champion has handled herself well through some tricky opening rounds against Karolina Muchova and Kirsten Flipkens, and saved her moved emphatic performance for Freçh on Saturday, striking 24 winners to increase her Wimbledon winning streak to 10 straight matches after just 67 minutes on No. 2 Court.

I'm really happy about this week. I played good tennis. Looking forward actually to play the second week and try to do better day by day. Simona Halep

“I've been struggling with the confidence lately,” she admitted after the match. “But it's normal after last year when I was injured and I didn't win much.

“But, again, with the work that I have done I feel better. I feel that physically I am strong, I'm strong, I'm where I have to be. I'm not worried about injuries anymore. Tennis will come. If I keep doing every day what I have to do, I'm really confident that it's going to come at the highest level.”

She will need a high level to score another win over No. 4 seed Paula Badosa, against whom she played one of her best matches of 2022 to defeat the Spaniard at the Mutua Madrid Open, but if tradition holds, the experienced Romanian will emerge on a slightly less “Manic” Monday ready to reach a fifth career Wimbledon quarterfinal.

“The matches that I played here were perfect,” she said of her 2019 triumph, which culminated in a stunning victory over 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. “So, I always have those memories and I have always have confidence that my game is pretty good on grass.”