Tears flow as cancer survivor Suarez Navarro pays tribute to mother

·3-min read
Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro who returned to the tennis circuit after being cured of cancer received a standing ovation on leaving Wimbledon Centre Court but thanked her mother Maria for being her constant companion during her illness

Carla Suarez Navarro's mother Maria Dolores wiped away tears as her daughter walked off Wimbledon Centre Court to a standing ovation on Tuesday.

Her daughter later thanked her for being her constant companion while she underwent treatment for cancer but with emotions raw she broke down in her post-match press conference.

"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," added Navarro before lowering her head and sobbing before going on "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."

Suarez Navarro put up a remarkable performance against world number one Ashleigh Barty losing in three sets -- 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1 -- on her least favoured surface of grass.

Her only competitive outing prior to Wimbledon had been at the French Open.

The popular 32-year-old Spaniard had retired last year and was diagnosed with cancer only to announce in April she had been cured and would return for a final tour of hand-picked tournaments culminating in the US Open in September.

Her mother watched from the players' box and filmed her 11th and final Wimbledon.

"For her it was a really good moment. She really wants to be on Centre Court," said Suarez Navarro.

"Well, I think she's proud. I want to say thank you to my mom every day."

- 'Give her hug' -

Suarez Navarro managed to keep her emotions in check throughout the match and while walking off despite the pressure of the occasion and the warmth of the crowd.

She had shown the same resilience against Barty breaking the Australian when she served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and then taking the tie-breaker.

Although she says grass has always been tough for her she twice reached the last 16 only to be beaten by Venus Williams and then sister Serena.

Wimbledon has always held a certain place in her heart and being drawn with Barty ensured it carried on till the final curtain.

"I think Wimbledon make me a really good gift," she said.

"I really enjoyed it. I cannot ask for anything else better than this day.

"As you say, one of my last matches here against Ash, No. 1 in the world, on Centre Court, with the roof.

"It was amazing. I really enjoyed everything I pass through.

"I think now, today, I was or I am the most happy player in tournament."

Barty is on her own mission to land the Wimbledon singles title on the 50th anniversary of her mentor and fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley's first crown.

However, she summed up the high regard and respect for Suarez Navarro among her fellow professionals.

"She's an exceptional person, a great fighter, a great competitor, and very well-loved and respected in the locker room," said Barty.

"She's going to be sorely missed. I wanted to give her the appreciation that she thoroughly deserves.

"I kind of didn't know what else to do (applauding her off).

"I wanted to give her a hug, just say congratulations on an exceptional, remarkable career."

As for whether Suarez Navarro was having second thoughts on going back on her decision to retire the seven-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist gave a firm answer.

"No, no, no," she said. "For sure I'm going to play my last tournament in the US Open.

"Then I finish my career."

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