Wimbledon: Barty privileged to share court with 'happy' Suarez Navarro

By Sports Desk June 29, 2021

Carla Suarez Navarro described herself as the happiest player in the tournament despite her Wimbledon defeat to Ash Barty, who said it was a privilege to share the court with the retiring Spaniard.

Suarez Navarro was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in September last year, just months after announcing her intention to retire.

She delayed her retirement and, after being given the all-clear in April, began a farewell tour at the French Open that will end with the year's final grand slam, the US Open, which starts in August.

Having lost to Sloane Stephens at Roland Garros, Suarez Navarro took a set off world number one Barty on Centre Court, before eventually suffering a 6-1 6-7 (1-7) 6-1 defeat.

Barty and the Wimbledon crowd gave her a standing ovation as Suarez Navarro left the court, ensuring it was a day she will never forget.

"Wimbledon make me a really good gift," Suarez Navarro told a media conference. 

"I cannot ask for anything else better than this day, one of my last match here, against Ash, world number one, Centre Court, with the roof, was amazing.

"Today I am the most happy player in the tournament. The crowd was amazing, was fantastic, I'm in love with this tournament, this court and this crowd."

Barty said of the former world number six: "She's a hell of a competitor, hell of a fighter, it was a privilege to be able to share that moment, share that court with her today.

"I hadn't had the opportunity to play Carla and it was really special to experience what she can bring from the other side of the court.

"All credit goes to her for her resilience and her nature as a competitor to be able to come back from the adversity that she has and to be able to have that moment with her was nothing shy of remarkable.

"I just said to her it was a pleasure to share the court with you, she's an exceptional person, a great fighter, a great competitor and very well respected in the locker room.

"She's going to be sorely missed, I just wanted to give her the appreciation that she thoroughly deserves, I didn't know what else to do, I wanted to give her a hug and just say congratulations on an exceptional, remarkable career."

Barty will face Anna Blinkova in the second round.

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