“Level of Women’s Tennis Has Really risen”: Ashleigh Barty Talks About Tough Competition at Miami Open 2021

Published 03/24/2021, 2:07 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty reacts during her quarter final match against Czech Republic’s Karolína Muchova REUTERS/Kelly Defina


Women’s World Number 1 Ashleigh Barty isn’t surprised by the wealth and depth of talent that is evident in the draws for most calendar WTA events these days.

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Ashleigh Barty says a stronger pool of women players will result in healthy competition at Miami Open

At an interaction with the press ahead of the prestigious Miami Open, the 24-year-old Barty seemed to suggest that she had no clue why the tennis world or media should feign surprise as the women’s pool at Tour events has been enriched with young and emerging talents over the last few years.

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“I feel like we’ve had this conversation over a number of years now, where it was almost a surprise to a lot of people that the depth was so good in the WTA,” Barty said.

She added that the wealth of talent on show also illustrates that kind of off-season work that the young stars put in these days “to be the best that they can be.”

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

The 24-year-old, who marked her Grand Slam return at this year’s Australian Open, said it’s good that the women’s draws are tougher by the tournament as it makes for a “healthy competition”.

“It makes for a really healthy competition knowing every single match, you have to be near your best level to compete,” the Aussie said.

She said such is the level of competition these days that there are no clear favorites going into a tournament, adding that it not only “brings the best in everyone” but also makes them strive “to be better”.

Ashleigh Barty will headline the women’s draw at Miami Open along with Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep

Cheered on by the home crowd, Barty reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before losing to Czech star Karolina Muchova in three sets. She followed up her Melbourne Park exit with a loss in the tournament opener at the WTA Adelaide International to rising American Danielle Collins.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021, Romania’s Simona Halep in action during her quarter final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Barty said more than the depth in contemporary women’s game, she is “surprised” that “everyone is still surprised” about it.

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She added that the “exceptional depth” heralds exciting times for “everyone moving forward”.

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Being the current World Number 1 by virtue of a ranking freeze since last year, Barty will launch her title defense at Miami as the top seed but will face a stiff road ahead, with the likes of reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka and two-time Major winner Simona Halep headlining the draw.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

863 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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