Tennis

Clean Slate for RG Return


The last time Ashleigh Barty played Paris she produced “the perfect match” capturing her maiden major.

A brilliant Barty tomahawked a smash putting a powerful exclamation point on a dynamic 6-1, 6-3, dismissal of Marketa Vondrousova in the 2019 French Open final to capture her first career Grand Slam championship in style.

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The world No. 1, who opted out of the tournament last fall due to the pandemic, returned to Roland Garros confessing her title triumph now feels like “a lifetime” ago.

“Honestly it feels like a lifetime ago,” Barty said. “I think coming back to the site here at Roland Garros is obviously pretty special, pretty cool to be able to walk onto Chatrier and have so many memories kind of come flooding back. A lot of it I also don’t remember and feels like it was such a long time ago.

“It’s certainly a clean slate for us this week but exciting to be here, exciting to be back and getting ready to play.”

The Stuttgart champion practiced with Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka a few days ago and will face Bernarda Pera in her Roland Garros opener.

Tennis Express

A week training in the solitude of the south of France has helped the top seed recharge for her French Open return.

“We were down in the South of France, which was beautiful, weather was great. We were at a very small club down there which for me was perfect,” Barty said. “I felt like we were able to do exactly what we wanted on court, we were able to control loads and make sure my body was feeling 100 percent.

“To be able to just control that week was really important, making sure that we had arrived here feeling great and we have. I feel like I’m ready to play. I’m excited to be back. But I think having that break kind of down south was beautiful in a sense where it was quiet.”

Alberto Nevado/Mutua Madrid Open

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