Leading seeds Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep share their favourite moments at the All England Club.
WTA Staff

LONDON, Great Britain - Strawberries and cream, Stefanie Graf and the epic five-hour 2008 men's final are among the memories that make Wimbledon special for the two leading women ahead of this year's tournament.

With play beginning at the All England club on Monday afternoon, WTA World No.1 Angelique Kerber and No.2 Simona Halep have spoken to wtatennis.com about the moments that have inspired them as they both search for their first SW19 titles.

Kerber, finalist last year and who faces American qualifier Irina Falconi in the first round this year, recalls watching a compatriot impressing on the grass as she grew up.

Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles (Getty)
Stefanie Graf inspired a young Angelique Kerber (Getty)

"My first memory was when I watched Steffi Graf at home, watching her winning the title," she said of the former No.1, who won seven singles titles in eight years at SW19 between 1988 and 1996. "My first [playing] memory was when I was a junior, walking there and seeing all the players playing in white and watching the pros. I was always dreaming of playing there as a pro so it was a great feeling.

"The special moment for me was last year when I was playing against Serena [Williams] in the final - it was really the best atmosphere there. It was a great feeling playing in front of all the fans and staying there at the end of the tournament. It was the best feeling for me.. so far!"

Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer's epic 2008 final provides Simona Halep's best Wimbledon memory (Getty)
Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer's epic 2008 final provides Simona Halep's best Wimbledon memory (Getty)

Halep, finalist in last month's French Open and who has twice reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, also has fond memories of watching events in south-west London.

"My first memory was watching [Roger] Federer against [Rafa] Nadal, the long match," the Romanian recalled of the pair's delayed, marathon final nine years ago. "They were fighting, they were not giving up at all and in the end it was really tough that one of them lost and one of them won.

"I was 15 when I first went to Wimbledon, I ate strawberries and cream and it was the best memory. Going on Centre Court and playing a match is completely awesome. Actually it is a good memory because I won that match! It's like you are in the living room and you are not going to the court, you have carpets all around and the doors are really nice and the atmosphere is special there."

The 25-year-old gets her singles campaign underway against Marina Erakovic, a qualifier from New Zealand.