Ash Barty's call for 2019 champion Simona Halep to open proceedings on Centre Court in the 2022 Wimbledon Championships hasn't come to fruition, with World No.1 Iga Swiatek granted the honours instead.
Halep - the 2019 champion at the All England Club - was denied the tradition of opening play on Centre Court in the 2020 tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic that saw it cancelled for the first time since World War II.
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Injury then ruled the Romanian champion out of the 2021 edition, presenting Barty with the honour of playing the first match on Centre Court that year.
The Aussie said she was humbled by the honour at the time, and felt bitterly disappointed for Halep that she didn't get to experience it herself.
Despite having retired, Barty seemingly weighed-in on the debate last week of who should open Wimbledon in 2022 in her absence.
According to her coach Craig Tyzzer, the 2021 champion said Halep should be afforded the honour because she was robbed of the opportunity due to the pandemic.
However, Barty's words didn't resonate with the All England Club as Wimbledon announced that World No.1 Swiatek will open proceedings against French player Jana Fett.
Swiatek is a deserving candidate and was always likely to play first on Centre Court.
However, the move still raised eyebrows with plenty in the tennis world - including Barty - wanting Halep to have her moment at Wimbledon.
According to reports, Wimbledon organisers were fearful that Halep would miss the grand slam again after she withdrew from the Bad Homburg Open on Friday with a neck injury.
However the move is likely a precautionary one to ensure the two-time grand slam champion is fit to take her place at Wimbledon.
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Last year, Barty was granted the honour of opening proceedings as the World No.1 while Halep was injured.
The Aussie expressed her sadness that Halep wasn't able to take her place as the defending champion.
“With all my heart I wish Simo was here to do it (start on Centre Court) herself,” Barty said after her opening round win over Carla Suarez Navarro.
“She’s a champion. She’s earned the right to open this court.
“To be given the honour when I haven’t fully deserved it, I wanted to come out here and pay respect to that.
“It’s an honour and a privilege and I was extremely humbled when Jamie (tournament director Baker) asked me to come out here and play on this beautiful court. I couldn’t be more proud to be out here.”
Following Barty's shock retirement earlier this year, The Tennis Podcast conducted an online poll to see who fans thought should be given the honour of opening Wimbledon in 2022.
Aussie tennis analyst and Halep’s former coach Darren Cahill replied to the tweet by insisting: “This should be Simona Halep.
"With Ash retired, the privilege and honour should go back to Simo. She has earned it as 2019 champ."
This should be Simona Halep.
Covid wiped out the 2020 championships & unable to play last year due to injury so Ash Barty was given the honor. With Ash retired, the privilege and honor should go back to Simo. She has earned it as 2019 champ. 🙏 https://t.co/9iElc6TxVw
— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) June 21, 2022
Barty's coach Tyzzer replied to Cahill's tweet and suggested that the Aussie champion had already put forward the same case to Wimbledon organisers.
“Totally agree Killer and I think someone may have already requested it,” Tyzzer wrote alongside a winking face emoji.
Totally agree Killer and I think someone may have already requested it. 😉
— Craig Tyzzer (@CTyzzer) June 22, 2022
Correct. This should be Halep
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) June 21, 2022
Needless to say, the decision to hand Swiatek the honour ahead of Halep hasn't sat well with fans.
Yet another terrible decision by Wimbledon. Should have been Simona Halep 😒
— WTA UK (@wta_uk) June 24, 2022
Shame on you ! I would love that Iga loses first round
— Alina Bordeanu (@alina_bordeanu) June 24, 2022
Bad decision Wimbledon! Should be Halep with the honour! Wimbledon is meant to value tradition!
— Nick Hayward (@nickjhayward) June 24, 2022
It's not Iga's fault. She's a great player and I'm sure she will have her chances to open CC as a defending champion in the future. But Wimbledon is disgraceful, making all decisions wrong
— Gabriel Hernández M. (@Gabriel_Hrnandz) June 24, 2022
Very bad decision. Simona won Wimbledon. And she earned it. It was denied due to Covid and now is the opportunity to correct the errr
— DG (@Bestof5forever) June 24, 2022
Would be disgusting if they chose Swiatek over Halep. You literally have a former champion and former world #1 who wasn’t able to open up Centre Court the year after she won because of the event being cancelled. How is this even remotely a decision? https://t.co/bZ2ezoAO7R
— Jason (@Certinfy) June 24, 2022
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