World Number 1 Ash Barty has booked her place in the second round of Wimbledon, after beating her first-round opponent Carla Suarez Navarro overnight.
After initially coming across as comfortable, Barty experienced a mid-match falter to beat Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-7 (1-7), 6-1.
Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro was playing her last ever Wimbledon tournament before retirement, having previously made a return to professional tennis after being diagnosed with cancer mid last year.
At the end of the match, an emotional crowd gave Suarez Navarro a standing ovation, a fitting send off for the seven-time major quarter-finalist. After giving her opponent a customary hug at the net, Barty joined the crowd.
Post-match, Barty spoke of Suarez Navarro’s resilience, saying the Spanish player is an “exceptional person”.
“It was incredible to share the court with Carla after her incredible career got a little bit longer,” said Barty. “She is a fighter, an incredible competitor and lovely person and I cannot find one bad word to say about her.”
“She’s an exceptional person, a great fighter, a great competitor, and very well-loved and respected in the locker room,” Barty said about Suarez Navarro.
“She’s going to be sorely missed. I wanted to give her the appreciation that she thoroughly deserves.
“I wanted to give her a hug, just say congratulations on an exceptional, remarkable career. To be able to share that moment with her was nothing short of remarkable.”
Barty’s win in the first round of Wimbledon came just three weeks after she was forced to retire early during the French Open with a hip injury.
On Tuesday, just hours before her first Wimbledon match, she was named in Australia’s tennis team for the upcoming Olympics, and said getting to compete at Tokyo is a dream come true. She will lead Australia’s 11-member tennis team.
“I think making your first Olympic team, particularly as an Australian, we have such a rich history and the Olympics is something I’ve always dreamt of and obviously super excited to get out there and represent the green and gold,” Barty said in a statement.
“It’s a massive united team and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”