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‘She was angry, but that’s life’ – Harmony Tan on doubles drama and a singles run at Wimbledon

Harmony Tan has qualified for the third round of Wimbledon, not at all perturbed by the buzz created by her victory over Serena Williams, nor by the controversy following her withdrawal from the doubles competition, nor by the pain in her thigh

Harmony Tan France’s Harmony Tan during her second round match against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Harmony Tan has turned off all social media notifications on her mobile phone, and only replies on Whatsapp to people she knows. Her victory over Serena Williams in the first round of Wimbledon has turned her life upside down: “I’ve never received so many messages, it was really impressive.”

She almost made it to the second round against Sara Sorribes Tormo (6-3, 6-4) without any idea that she was at the centre of a controversy following her doubles withdrawal and the anger of her partner, Tamara Korpatsch.

“I knew about it because someone sent me the post in question, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it because at the moment I don’t go on social networks,” she said on Thursday. “My partner was upset but I explained to her that I didn’t want to go on court being 10 per cent below my best already, and especially if there were girls waiting behind, who were really 100 per cent doubles players.

“There’s no point in going on court when you can’t give your best. She even asked me to go on the court and see how it went, but I didn’t want to do it. This morning I got a message from her apologising for posting that in anger. I don’t have a problem. She was angry, but that’s life. She apologised this morning for her post, she sent me a message but I don’t like those kind of scenes so I didn’t reply.”

In the meantime, Tamara Korpatsch posted another message in which she congratulated Tan, with a touch of irony, on her swift recovery.

Tan – I could barely walk the day after Serena

It’s going to take a lot more to derail Tan right now. One might have feared for her that dealing with the triumph over Serena Williams would be complicated when she played her second-round match on Court 17, but not at all. In the end, she had the last word against Sorribes Tormo on Thursday, in a match that was much closer than the score suggests.

The Frenchwoman took an anti-inflammatory during the match to relax the muscles in her rebellious thigh, but she managed the game and her nerves very well.

“I’m in my bubble, I’m playing my game and I’m discovering that I like playing on grass! It’s always complicated to continue your form after a big match like that, but I had prepared well for this match, I got into it well and it went well.”

It wasn’t easy. On Wednesday, she was undergoing treatment and not really in a good mindset.

“I was really unwell, I could hardly climb the stairs because I had a huge pain in my thigh. I had seen the WTA physio who told me not to play doubles because it could get worse. I took anti-inflammatories to get it over, it was complicated to deal with it but I told myself that it’s also a chance to play this second round and get to the third round of a Grand Slam.” She gritted her teeth and it was worth it.

However, it is impossible to predict how her third-round match against wild card Katie Boulter, ranked 118th in the world, will go. On paper, it’s a great opportunity but in reality it should be as complicated as the first two rounds.

After all, Boulter too has achieved a feat in taking out Karolina Pliskova (3-6, 7-6(4),6-4), a finalist here last year.

“Katie Boulter is a very good player, especially on grass. She’ll have the crowd behind her, we’re going to play on a big court, it’ll be a tough match, but I’m prepared because that was also the case against Serena. With my physio, we will continue to make sure I recover.”

Tan: I’ve evolved

Whatever happens on Saturday, this Wimbledon 2022 tournament will have been of paramount importance to Harmony Tan. She sees that her work, both physical and tennis-related, has really started to pay off. She now believes she has a place in these major tournaments. “I came to Wimbledon with no grass court experience so I wasn’t expecting much either. And when I saw the first draw, I was hoping not to be embarrassed. I’m surprising myself at the moment, even today, because I played Sorribes Tormo in March [in Monterrey] and I lost 6-2, 6-2, so I thought it was going to be very difficult. I feel like since March I’ve evolved a little bit.” Or perhaps a lot.

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