Ash Barty's beautiful act as opponent leaves Wimbledon in tears

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·Sports Editor
·4-min read
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Ash Barty, pictured here applauding as Carla Suarez Navarro farewelled Wimbledon for the last time.
Ash Barty stood and applauded as Carla Suarez Navarro farewelled Wimbledon for the last time. Image: Getty

Ash Barty showed her incredible class after defeating Carla Suarez Navarro in the Spanish cancer survivor's final match at Wimbledon.

Barty earned a hard-fought three-set win over Suarez Navarro on Tuesday, ending her opponent's Wimbledon career after she beat cancer and made a remarkable return to tennis.

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Suarez Navarro received a standing ovation from those in attendance on Centre Court as she made her way off in emotional scenes after Barty's 6-1 6-7 (1-7) 6-1 win.

One of those standing and applauding was Barty, who stopped what she was doing to clap her rival as she walked from the court for the final time at Wimbledon.

The gesture from Barty was only small, but perfectly illustrated her immense class and sportsmanship.

"She played a great tiebreak. She's a hell of a competitor, a hell of a fighter, an exceptional person," Barty said of Suarez Navarro.

"She deserves nothing but the best, and I just said to her at the end, 'It was a pleasure to share the court with you'.

"I kind of didn't know what else to do. I wanted to give her a hug, say congratulations on an exceptional, remarkable career. 

"I know she's still got a little bit to go, and I wish her all the very best."

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Suarez Navarro in tears after emotional Wimbledon swansong

Suarez Navarro broke down in tears at her post-match press conference when talking about how her mother has helped her overcome her toughest battle.

Suarez Navarro’s mother Maria Dolores was also in tears in the crowd as she watched her daughter farewell the All England Club.

“My mum has been to Wimbledon two or three times,” said Suarez Navarro. 

“She tries to record everything and I guess she gets a bit emotional too.”

Ash Barty, pictured here embracing Carla Suarez Navarro after their first-round clash at Wimbledon.
Ash Barty embraces Carla Suarez Navarro after their first-round clash at Wimbledon. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Suarez Navarro then broke down in tears before saying: “For all these months we’ve had to go through”.

“It’s special to have her here, I really appreciate it and don’t ask me about my mother any more please,” she said.

Given the honour of opening proceedings on Centre Court on Tuesday with the reigning ladies' champion Simona Halep out injured, it always promised to be an emotional occasion for Barty against an opponent on an inspirational comeback trail.

Despite a breeze of an opening set for Barty, which had been interrupted briefly by a rain stoppage which required the roof to be rolled out, Suarez Navarro made a fight of it as everyone - including the Aussie - knew she would.

The 32-year-old, who's overcome Hodgkin's lymphoma and was playing only her second match in 18 months in her farewell Wimbledon, made light of any competitive rustiness in the 'indoor' arena to roar back in the second.

She broke Barty when the Australian was serving for a straight-sets win and went on to outplay the World No.1 in the subsequent tiebreak.

But the Queenslander regrouped effortlessly in the decider, prevailing with an elegant late flourish befitting Evonne Goolagong-Cawley - the idol she is honouring at Wimbledon this year.

with agencies

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