Barty withdraws from Australian Open doubles amidst thigh concern

Ash Barty’s fitness — or potentially lack thereof – is one of the big stories right now at Melbourne Park, where the Australian star is preparing for the third round of the women’s singles competition.

Ash Barty

Ash Barty and partner Jennifer Brady withdrew from their Australian Open doubles match scheduled for Friday because of fitness concerns involving the world No. 1.

It was hardly a surprising development, as Barty was in the spotlight after her thigh was heavily strapped during Thursday’s 6-1, 7-6(7) victory over fellow Aussie Daria Gavrilova in the women’s singles second round.

The 2019 French Open champion was scheduled to team up with Brady for Friday’s doubles contest against Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka, but the duo not unexpectedly decided not to play.

Hopefully for the top seed this decision is simply a precautionary measure. After all, she did assure in her post-match press conference after beating Gavrilova that she would be good to go for resuming her push for the title. Barty is slated to meet 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the third round at Melbourne Park.

“The bandage is very big, but that’s more just support so that the tape itself doesn’t fall off,” Barty said. “It’s not a very subtle tape job, you often see it on a lot of the girls. The guys can hide it beneath their shorts a little bit better. Just a little bit of support. I played a lot of matches in the last 10 days after not playing for 12 months, which is natural. It’s more of an assistance than anything else.

“It came on early Tuesday, warming up for the match. But, yeah, obviously it’s not affecting the way that I can play in any way. It’s just more giving the leg some assistance to make sure it doesn’t get to a point where it’s going to affect me.”

Last year, Barty became the first Australian woman to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984. The most recent finalist from the home nation was Turnbull in 1980, while Chris O’Neil was the last champion in 1978.

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