Iga Swiatek on Wimbledon Centre Court honour and being ‘overwhelmed’ when seeing Serena Williams

Iga Swiatek applauding

Iga Swiatek “feels privileged and proud” after she was handed the honour of opening play on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

The defending champion ladies’ champion usually features in the first match on day two of The Championships, but with Ashleigh Barty retiring earlier this year, organisers had to select a different player.

There was talk that 2019 winner Simona Halep would be given the honour, but they opted for world No 1 Swiatek instead.

“I know that there have been some discussions about who should open, and I feel really privileged that I’ve been chosen,” the two-time Roland Garros champion said.

“There are many players here who have won Wimbledon and had a great tournament. I wasn’t expecting that because still I only made it to the fourth round last year and that’s my best result.

“I feel privileged and proud of myself mostly. Hopefully it’s going to be a good show.”

Fresh from winning her second title at the French Open, Swiatek heads to Wimbledon as the pre-tournament favourite.

The 21-year-old, who will look to extend her 35-match winning streak when she takes on Jana Fett in the opening round, is hoping to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win the French Open-Wimbledon double in the same year.

Williams is making her return to competitive tennis at the All England Club following nearly a year on the sidelines and there was an odd moment for Swiatek when she saw the 23-time Grand Slam winner during the media activities.

“When I saw her I was pretty overwhelmed,” she said. “I felt like I am still new on the WTA, I didn’t know how to react properly.

“I wanted to meet her but I saw that she had so many people around her and I don’t know her team.

“It was pretty weird. So I came back to myself a few years earlier when I was too shy to say hi to anybody for a second.

“But I feel that just seeing her around is great because she is such a legend. There’s nobody that has done so much in tennis.”