“A Little Rattled”: Ashleigh Barty’s Honest Confession on Naomi Osaka Comparisons

Published 11/23/2021, 10:08 PM EST
PARIS, FRANCE May 26. Naomi Osaka of Japan and Ashleigh Barty of Australia after practicing on Court Philippe-Chatrier during a practice match in preparation for the 2021 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 2pm 6th 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)


Australian World No.1 Ashleigh Barty remained consistent and composed throughout the 2021 season. As a result, she won five WTA titles, including her second Grand Slam at Wimbledon, and kept the No.1 spot throughout the season. Looking back, Barty recalled the time in Miami when she felt people doubted her rankings spot against four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka.

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Recently, Barty completed her 100 weeks at the pinnacle of WTA Rankings, becoming only the eighth woman to do so. Over this, the 25-year-old Aussie star revealed the only time she got rattled to prove her place. Following this, she showed no signs of slowing down.

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Ashleigh Barty recalls when critics doubted her No.1 spot against Naomi Osaka 

It all started because Osaka had won the US Open 2020 and Australian Open 2021 in a trout. Conversely, Barty had missed most of the 2020 season but remained World No.1 since September 2019.

Thus, the critics thought that the Japanese star deserved the No.1 spot and not her. In consequence, Barty not only silenced the critics but established her dominance on the WTA Tour.

Apr 3, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Ashleigh Barty of Australia holds the Butch Bucholz Trophy after her match against Bianca Andreescu of Canada (not pictured) in the women’s singles final in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the interview, the 25-year-old admitted that the questions over her spot motivated her. And so, she let her tennis racquet do the talking afterward.

“When we arrived in Miami in late March, I felt people were questioning whether I was the rightful No 1 given Naomi Osaka had won a couple of Grand Slams in succession. It was probably the first time I felt a little rattled, and I really wanted to make a statement on the court,” Barty said.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 10, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova Pool via REUTERS/Mike Hewitt

From there on, Barty won Miami, Stuttgart, Wimbledon, and Cincinnati. Also, she ended her season early due to the exhaustive season despite qualifying for the WTA Finals.

Will Barty play at the Australian Open 2022?

Yes, Barty has confirmed that she will compete at her home tournament, Australian Open 2022. Notably, no Australian tennis player has won this event since 1978.

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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

Without any doubt, the newly-engaged Barty will look forward to taking on this challenge next year. Besides, she is one of the players who thrive the most when challenged.

Soon, Barty will begin her pre-season to add another incredible season to her career. Only time will tell what 2022 has in stock for the Aussie ace.

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Do you think Barty will retain World No.1 spot in 2022 also?

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Purav Joshi

1357 articles

Purav Joshi is a Senior Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 1000 tennis articles.

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