By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday June 3, 2021
A harsh practice landing caused the injury that ended Ashleigh Barty’s French Open flight.
The world No. 1 retired from her Roland Garros second-round match today due to pain from a left hip injury while trailing Magda Linette 6-1, 2-2 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“It was just becoming too much,” Barty said afterward. “I mean, I’d been right from the first game I was battling the pain, and it just became too severe, and like I said, was becoming unsafe.
“It was a decision that, yeah, just a tough one, had to be done.”
The 2019 Roland Garros champion carried a 14-3 clay-court record into this match, but was clearly compromised, struggled to elevate on her serve and looked restricted running right to cover her forehand.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Barty said. “I mean, we have had such a brilliant clay court season, and to kind of get a little bit unlucky with timing more than anything to have something kind of acute happen over the weekend and just kind of run out of time against the clock is disappointing. “It won’t take away the brilliant three months that we have had, as much as it hurts right now.”
A frustrating aspect of this early exit was Barty had recovered from the right arm injury that forced her to retire from her Rome quarterfinal after winning the opening set against Coco Gauff.
The top-seeded Aussie sustained the hip injury in a freak occurrence from a harsh landing on serve during a weekend practice before Paris.
“My arm has been feeling great probably for the last seven or eight days, and that was probably our biggest concern and our biggest focus point was to make sure that we had done all the right things for my body,” Barty said. “But as for the hip, it was, yeah, had nothing to do with loads or anything like that. As far as we can tell, it was literally acute, landing on serve one day, and that’s all she wrote. Yeah, it was brutal and tough to accept.”
“It’s heartbreaking. We did absolutely everything we could to give myself a chance. It was a small miracle that we were able to get on court for that first round.”
— wta (@WTA) June 3, 2021
The 25-year-old Barty said her team has been consulting with specialists and she hopes to bounce back in time for Wimbledon, which starts on June 28th.
“I hope [to play Wimbledon]. I really do,” Barty said. “We do all the right things now, we continue to do the right things. Yeah, give ourselves the best chance…
“[It’s a] completely new injury, and I think, yeah, something that I’ve never experienced before, even chatting with my physio, not something she has seen regularly either. So we’ve been consulting with people all over the world to try and give us some insight into what the best ways to manage it are, to handle it, and I’m confident we do have a plan. It’s just that we ran out of time here.”
Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty