Fresh from an emphatic takedown of cancer, Spanish tennis star Carla Suarez Navarro failed in her quest of a comeback win at All England.
In what turned out to be her last appearance at the Wimbledon Championships on her farewell Tour, the Spaniard bid a tearful goodbye to a Centre Court crowd that gave her a standing ovation at the end of three-set loss to Ashleigh Barty in the opening round.
The Spaniard, who came out of retirement this year after announcing that she had made a full recovery from cancer, put in a lion-hearted performance against the current women’s World No.1 but couldn’t live to fight another day.
Carla Suarez Navarro took a set off Ashleigh Barty
After being blown away in the opening set, Navarro came strongly to take the second in a tiebreak.
That was an UNFORGETTABLE experience. You gave me goosebumps today, @Wimbledon. I’ve always felt privileged for compete on your lawns. Many thanks for the best farewell I could imagine.
— Carla Suárez Navarro (@CarlaSuarezNava) June 29, 2021
However, she couldn’t keep the momentum going in the decider, as the Aussie closed out a 6-1, 6-7 (1-7), 6-1 to progress to the second round.
At the post-match press conference, the Spaniard couldn’t hold back tears as the realization of it being her last dance at All England started to sink in.
Navarro said it was a privilege to be back at All England and the farewell she got at the end of her short campaign gave her goosebumps.
“This was an unforgettable experience. You gave me goosebumps today @Wimbledon,” the Spaniard wrote on Twitter.
Navarro wished Barty well for the rest of the tournament
“I have always felt privileged to compete on your lawns. Many thanks for the best farewell I could imagine (emojis),” the Spaniard said.
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 29, 2021 Spain’s Carla Suárez Navarro in action during her first round match against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Graceful in defeat, she also had a word of praise for her opponent, calling her a “special one”.
She thanked Barty for giving the crowd a match to remember and wished her well for the rest of the tournament.
“All the best, @ashbarty. You’re a special one. Thanks for a wonderful match today (emoji),” Navarro wrote.
Barty will play Anna Blinkova of Russia for a place in the third round on Wednesday.