Home Sport Doubts over top ranking as Barty party fizzles in Oz

Doubts over top ranking as Barty party fizzles in Oz

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World number one Ashleigh Barty took a defensive swipe at the Australian public for having unrealistic expectations of her.

FILE – Ashleigh Barty of Australia. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

AN AUSTRALIAN summer of tennis that promised so much for Ashleigh Barty has ended in disappointment with the local hero falling at the first hurdle of the Adelaide International a week after blowing a golden chance to win her home Grand Slam.

World number one Barty exited Memorial Drive on Wednesday after a 6-3 6-4 loss to Danielle Collins and took a defensive swipe at the Australian public for having unrealistic expectations of her.

“You know that there are no easy matches going into any tournament,” Barty told local media. “From an expectation of a public point of view, I think that (winning all the time) is their views and that’s their opinions and they are 100% able to voice those.

“But I think from a playing perspective, it’s about what do we expect from us as players and what do we bring to the court each day. And in the end, the result, it just is what it is, it’s not always going to go your way. You can’t win every single tennis match. But you can sure as hell approach it the right way.”

Australians had high hopes Barty would end their 43-year wait for a home winner at Melbourne Park after she beat Garbine Muguruza in the final of the Yarra Valley Classic warm-up.

But despite being in the comparatively weaker half of the draw Barty was dumped out in the quarter-finals, ousted by Karolina Muchova after taking the first set 6-1.

While Naomi Osaka picked up her fourth Grand Slam title with victory at Melbourne Park, the 23-year-old remains second behind Barty in the world rankings due to a re-jig by the WTA after the 2020 season was suspended amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barty has held the world number one ranking since September 2019, a period in which she has made one Grand Slam semi-final and skipped the French and US Opens.

Tennis fans and pundits have criticised the rankings for being out of synch with reality.

Reuters