The Wimbledon organizers have announced world No. 1 Iga Swiatek will open play on the Centre Court. Wimbledon traditionally allows defending champions to open play on the Centre Court but for this year they were forced to find a replacement.
Ashleigh Barty, who won Wimbledon last year, announced a shock retirement from tennis this past March. Swiatek, who has been the top-ranked WTA player for three months now, has now been given the honor to open to play on the Centre Court.
Reportedly, it was a battle between Swiatek and Simona Halep.
Swiatek beat out Halep
In 2019, Halep won Wimbledon after beating Serena Williams in the final.
Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020, while Halep didn't play at the tournament last year due to a calf injury. Darren Cahill, who coached Halep in 2019, said this week the Romanian should open play on their main court. "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." Cahill tweeted this week.
On Friday, Halep pulled out of her Bad Homburg semifinal match due to a neck injury. Hours later, Wimbledon announced their decision. Halep's latest setback might have impacted Wimbledon's decision to give the honor to Swiatek.
"I am sorry that I had to withdraw today before my semifinal match. But unfortunately I woke up this morning with a blocked neck and this is not allowing me to perform to the best of my ability. I have had a great time here in Bad Homburg," Halep announced on her Instagram account.
Meanwhile, Swiatek drew Croatian qualifier Jana Fett in the Wimbledon first round. Swiatek is the absolute favorite against Fett and it would be an absolute shock if she exited the tournament in the first round.