After receiving the highest distinction of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Wimbledon 2019 Champion Simona Halep spoke about her devotion to the Mother of God in an exclusive interview with Basilica.ro.
The tennis player confessed that her love for God and the Theotokos was inspired by her family. ‘I have never refrained from professing my faith in public,’ said the winner of the 2019 Wimbledon tournament, who always thanks God for her achievements and makes the sign of the holy cross on the tennis court.
Basilica.ro: What Saint is dearer to you and you call in prayer more often when you need help?
Simona Halep: The Mother of God is always on my mind!
Basilica.ro: You are very attached to your family. You have dedicated the Wimbledon trophy to your mother. How much do you think that a healthy relationship with one’s parents helps in the formation of a young person?
Simona Halep: To be able to accomplish great things in this life, you need the full support of your parents. Without them I think you do not have the necessary inner strength.
Basilica.ro: In the writings of the Holy Fathers, sports terms are used to describe spiritual feats or struggles, especially because discipline and perseverance are necessary in both areas. How much did they weigh in achieving your sports performance?
Simona Halep: Discipline is the most important aspect of performance. Perseverance is necessary to be able to go forward after each failure.
Basilica.ro: In order to take care of the physical health, not just of the spiritual health, the Church proposes various sports competitions for children in parishes and dioceses. What do you think of these Church initiatives?
Simona Halep: A special initiative. Sport is good for health and for mental relaxation. We all need positive energy and sport really helps!
The Church appreciated the achievements of Simona Halep in professional tennis and recognized her merit of publicly confessing the faith by awarding her the “Patriarchal Cross” for the laypersons.
Patriarch Daniel said that Simona Halep is for many young people a symbol of diligence, perseverance and hope.
“I am very faithful,” she confessed during the award ceremony at the patriarchal residence on Thursday, July 18.
“I believe in God very much. I know that without God I could not have come here,” Simona Halep said.
Photography courtesy of Wimbledon