Harriet Dart: I played my worst match of the grass-court season at Wimbledon

Harriet Dart: I played my worst match of the grass-court season at Wimbledon

Harriet Dart was gutted she saved her worst for Wimbledon after becoming the first British casualty of this year’s tournament.

Dart was beaten 6-7 (4) 6-0 6-4 by Frenchwoman Diane Parry in a disappointing display on Court 12.

It was a bitter blow considering the 26-year-old’s excellent form in the build-up to her home grand slam, having reached the quarter-finals in Nottingham and Birmingham.

She was not able to produce her best when it mattered on the big stage, though, and she was left with regrets.

“I felt pretty poor out there,” she admitted. “What’s amazing was I had a chance to win playing not great tennis.

“I still feel like I have so much to improve on.

“I’ve had a really good grass-court season. It’s just disappointing that my worst match of the grass-court season came here.

“Naturally being British, you want to play well here.

Harriet Dart reacts following her defeat to Diane Parry
Harriet Dart reacts following her defeat to Diane Parry (Adam Davy/PA)

“I just didn’t really get going. She also made it tricky for me. Credit to her, she played better tennis than me today.”

Dart, who reached the third round here in 2019, was up against it from the start in tricky conditions on Court 12, where the wind was causing issues, as she fell 3-0 down in the opening set.

But she found her feet and levelled at 5-5 after an impressive long rally ended in her firing a superb cross-court backhand winner.

That seemed to turn the tide as Dart went on take the set in a tie-break and the Briton would have been eyeing a straight-sets win.

But the wheels soon came off as Parry raised her level with some heavy forehand hitting and breezed to the second set in just 33 minutes without letting Dart win a game.

The writing was on the wall when Parry broke early in the decider to take a 3-1 lead, but to Dart’s credit she immediately hit back to stay in the match.

However, the world number 96 struck again at 5-4 to clinch her place in the second round and send the first home hope packing.

Dart played the match with strapping on her shoulder, though that played no part in her defeat.

She added: “We’ve just been managing it. It’s not been a serious problem. But, yeah, since Birmingham I’ve had some issues with it. I’ve been fine to play on it.”