Former world No. 1 Simona Halep admitted she was pretty emotional before her Wimbledon opener as she is simply happy to be healthy and to be able to compete at The Championships again. Halep, who lifted her maiden Wimbledon title after beating Williams in the final three years, made a winning return at The All England Club on Tuesday.
In the Wimbledon first round, Halep saw off Karolina Muchova 6-3 6-2 to progress into the next round. Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020, while Halep was forced to miss the tournament last year because of an injury. "I have great memories from 2019.
It's always a pleasure to come here to Wimbledon," Halep said, per the WTA website. "It was pretty emotional before this match, but now, I want to enjoy it. I'm really happy about it. I've been struggling a lot the last few years.
Many injuries, no confidence, everything that's happening in the world, now, I love tennis again. I love being on court and I love working."
Halep sets a Kirsten Flipkents match
Halep faces a familiar face in the second round as she faces next Flipkens, against whom she has a perfect 5-0 head-to-head record.
Meanwhile, another former Wimbledon champion made a winning start on Tuesday. Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, recovered from a set down to beat Jasmine Paolini 2-6 6-4 6-2 in her opener at The Championships.
Kvitova has now won her last six matches as she made it all the way in Eastbourne before coming to Wimbledon. "It was tough one with different conditions and transition from Eastbourne to here, playing different opponent as well.
It was really tough. I don't know how I made it, but probably was just the fighting spirit today," Kvitova said. "I think I felt a little bit better because of the Eastbourne tournament, how I played there. But here, it's different.
Even the grass is different. I think it's a bit slower. The first rounds are just tough. That's what I expected. On the other hand I was telling myself that Jasmine is not really grass court player. She prefer more a clay court. ... I knew that I have game to beat her somehow."