LONDON Sabine Lisicki's smile had returned as she admitted nerves got the better of her as she lost 6-1 6-4 to Marion Bartoli in a one-sided Wimbledon final on Saturday.
The German clearly found her first Wimbledon final a difficult experience and she looked to be heading for an embarrassing 6-1 6-1 defeat before winning three games in a row to bring some respectability to the scoreline.
She sobbed on court during her second set meltdown but recovered her composure in time to face the world's media.
"I felt fine this morning but it's an occasion that you don't get every day," she told a news conference. "So it's something completely new for me.
"The walk on court is different. You walk on with the flowers. You walk on together. Everything is a little bit different. The feeling, the atmosphere is different."
Lisicki beat defending champion Serena Williams and last year's runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska on the way to the final and, on her favourite surface, was favourite to beat the 15th-seeded Bartoli.
But she was never able to produce consistently the booming serves and thumping forehands which took her to the final and made a string of costly unforced errors.
"I will learn and take away so much from it," Lisicki, seeded 23rd, said after her first Wimbledon final, having reached the semi-final in 2011.
"I've done that in the past. Experience has always helped me so much.
"When I was in the quarters here the first time, when I was in the semis for the first time, and now in the final for the first time. I've always gained my experience here, which is good.
"I hope that next time it will help me to do that one step further."
Lisicki, 23, agreed that the 28-year-old Bartoli, who did not drop a set in the tournament, had more energy left for the final after an easier run.
"Having so many hard matches is draining in the end of the day. I think Marion was fresher today. I think that made a big difference too," she said.
Lisicki was taking plenty of positives from her performances at Wimbledon.
"It's still been a great tournament," she said. "It's been an amazing two weeks.
"I've played my best tennis here. I had to take out the champion and runner-up from last year, so I think that's pretty big. This tournament definitely made me a better player."
(Editing by Martyn Herman)