FIRST-time Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli found it hard to take in the achievement but said it was the realisation of a childhood dream after landing her first grand slam title.
The French 15th seed destroyed the hopes of Germany’s Sabine Lisicki by winning a one-sided final 6-1 6-4 on Centre Court, and celebrated enthusiastically by racing into the stands to celebrate with her father and former coach Walter.
After being handed the Venus Rosewater Dish that many thought Serena Williams was a certainty to retain this fortnight, until her defeat to Lisicki in the fourth round, Bartoli struggled with the enormity of her feat.
The 2007 runner-up had endured a poor start to the season, and had low expectations as she began her Wimbledon campaign.
“Honestly I just can’t believe it,” she said. “As a little girl I dreamt about this moment for so long.
“I was there in 2007 and I missed out. I know how it feels Sabine, and I’m sure, believe me, you’ll be there one more time, I have no doubt about it.
“When I started this campaign on Court 14, I think if you told me I’d be here in the final i wouldn’t believe you. To hold the trophy is unthinkable.
“I’m just so happy to be holding this trophy. It’s been my dream since i was six years old.”
She has a shaky serve and sent down a flurry of double faults today, making an ace to secure the match all the more surprising.
“For me finishing by an ace, even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t believe that,” Bartoli said.
“Maybe a backhand winner but not an ace. I’ve been practising my serve for so long. At least I saved it for the best moment.”
She addressed her support team in the players’ box, saying her father “means so much”.
Lisicki admitted she had been a long way short of her best and put that down to stage fright.
The 23rd seed said: “I think I was just overwhelmed by the whole situation. But credit to Marion. She’s been in that situation before and she handled it perfectly.
“She’s been on tour for so long and she deserves it. I hope I’ll get the chance one more time as well.”
Speaking to the crowd, Lisicki said: “I still love this tournament so much, I still love this court a lot and I love you guys.
“Today you helped me try to get over my nerves. I got them back but Marion was too good.”