By Reuters

LONDON- Nadia Comaneci predicted “no one in Romania will be working for a few days” as they would be too busy celebrating Simona Halep’s “amazing” victory over Serena Williams in Saturday’s Wimbledon final.

comaneci 640x441 - Exclusive: Comaneci hails Halep’s historic Wimbledon triumph

Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates with former gymnast Nadia Comaneci after winning the final against Sloane Stephens of the US on June 9, 2018. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Thirteen months ago, Comaneci was the first person Halep hugged when she clambered up into the stands on Court Philippe Chatrier after she won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open.

A scheduling conflict meant Comaneci could not fly in from her home in Oklahoma for Saturday’s Wimbledon finale so she resorted to an early wake-up call to follow the action on television.

Halep made sure it was not a wasted cause.

The former world number one produced what she called the “best tennis of my life” to become Romania’s first Wimbledon singles champion.

“That was an amazing performance. It’s fantastic. It’s not a surprise she won because mentally she was ready for this win and it’s now time for all of Romania to celebrate,” Comaneci told Reuters in a telephone interview moments after a beaming Halep walked off Centre Court clutching the Venus Rosewater Dish.

“There will be no one working in Romania for a few days because people will be celebrating Simona’s great victory.”

While Comaneci had total faith that her friend would triumph on Saturday, others were not so sure considering Halep had won only one of her previous 10 meetings against Williams — and that almost five years ago.

READ MORE:  Halep wins Wimbledon, stops Williams’ bid for 24th Slam

But with the words of her mother ringing in her ears — when a 10-year-old Halep was told that if she wanted to do something in tennis she would need to play in a Wimbledon final — the 27-year-old took only 56 spellbinding minutes to fulfill her own ambition of securing a lifetime membership at the All England Club.

So, is the 6-2 6-2 Wimbledon triumph a bigger deal to Romanians than the Roland Garros win?

“Roland Garros was the ice breaker and this win is now making history,” Comaneci said with a laugh.

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