Tennis fans up in arms over Simona Halep 'disgrace' at Wimbledon

Simona Halep, pictured here opening her Wimbledon campaign with a win on Court 1.
Simona Halep opened her Wimbledon campaign with a win on Court 1. Image: Wimbledon/Getty

Tennis fans were left gutted for Simona Halep at Wimbledon on Tuesday despite the 2019 champion advancing to the second round with ease.

Halep obliterated Czech opponent Karolína Muchová 6-3 6-2 in a staggering statement to her more fancied rivals at the All England Club.

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But despite the comfortable win, fans were left fuming that Halep hadn't been afforded the honour of opening play on centre court.

Wimbledon tradition dictates that the defending men's and women's champions open play on centre court the following year.

However 2021 champion Ash Barty has since retired, leaving Wimbledon organisers with a dilemma over which female player would be handed the honour in her place.

They eventually settled on World No.1 Iga Swiatek, despite the popular opinion that it should have gone to Halep.

Barty herself even reportedly suggested to Wimbledon organisers that Halep get the honour, but they instead went with the red-hot World No.1.

Simona Halep, pictured here celebrating her win over Karolina Muchova at Wimbledon.
Simona Halep celebrates her win over Karolina Muchova at Wimbledon. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

After winning the Wimbledon title in 2019, Halep was robbed of the chance to open centre court in 2020 when the tournament was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She would have ben given the honour in 2021 but missed the grass-court grand slam due to injury, with Barty taking her place.

So with Barty now gone, many felt the honour should have gone back to Halep and not Swiatek.

Fans took to social media on Tuesday to decry the fact that Halep was playing on Court 1 rather than the main arena.

Iga Swiatek opens centre court in style

Swiatek swiftly carried on where Barty left off, delivering a clinic on Wimbledon's centre court to blow off Croatian Jana Fett 6-0 6-3 in an ominous opener.

Taking the traditional Tuesday centre court opening spot, Swiatek also assumed the honour of filling in for the now-retired Barty in superb, record-breaking style.

The World No.1's 36th win in a row is the most by any female player this century after moving out of a tie with Venus Williams' longest streak of 35.

Serena Williams owns 23 grand slam crowns but her longest winning streak is a mere 34 in 2013.

"Still when I see Serena or see Venus, they seem like... the legends," Swiatek said.

"I don't consider myself a legend. They seem like the ones, they're the greatest of all time in tennis."

Iga Swiatek, pictured here in action against Jana Fett on centre court at Wimbledon.
Iga Swiatek in action against Jana Fett on centre court at Wimbledon. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

But riding the longest women's streak since Martina Hingis won 37 matches in a row in 1997, even Swiatek considers he consistency across the three surfaces "amazing".

"It just shows how much work we've been putting (in) for every match," the 21-year-old said.

"I'm pretty happy that I could show consistency because it was always my goal.

"I didn't know it's going to be possible for me to show that much consistency, and actually to win tournaments. But I'm just really happy and I'm trying to use it the best way possible."

The Polish star said it had been a privilege to be given the Barty role following the Aussie's retirement in March and she certainly looked immediately at home on the court which the Australian had owned last year in her final triumph over Karolina Pliskova.

Swiatek took 33 minutes to hand the Croatian a 33-minute 'bagel' in the opening set in her first match since winning the French Open at Roland Garros.

Fett did at least briefly threaten a comeback as she led 3-1 before Swiatek escaped the tricky situation and rattled off five games in a row to continue the streak that has stretched back to February, even before Barty had announced her shock retirement.

with AAP

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