Ash Barty withdrawal fuels injury fears at Australian Open

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Seen here, Australian Open doubles partner Ash Barty and Jennifer Brady have a chat during a break in their match.
Ash Barty and Jennifer Brady withdrew from their scheduled doubles match on Friday. Pic: Getty

Ash Barty declared she was "fit as a fiddle" after her rollercoaster Australian Open win on Thursday but concerned fans aren't convinced.

The women's World No.1 has left her fans fearing the worst after withdrawing from her scheduled doubles match with American Jennifer Brady on Friday.

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Barty and Brady were scheduled to play Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens in the second round but handed the second seeds a walkover victory.

It comes after Barty - sporting a heavily strapped left leg - came through a topsy turvy second round match against compatriot Daria Gavrilova on Thursday.

The top seed raised eyebrows when she had her left thigh heavily strapped during the 6-1 7-6 (9-7) win over Gavrilova that saw Barty suffer a mini-collapse in the second set, before she eventually prevailed.

The 24-year-old found herself 6-5 down after leading 5-2 in the second set, before she was eventually able to steady the ship and seal victory.

Commentator Sam Smith said during the match that "there has to be an enormous amount of concern" about Barty and fans also took to social media with similar sentiments.

Despite Barty's assurances that she's fit and that the leg strapping makes the issue look worse than it actually is, Friday's doubles withdrawal has merely fuelled the concern of tennis fans about the Aussie's welfare.

Barty plays down seriousness of issue

The 24-year-old continues to play down the injury, with Team Barty on Friday saying it was merely "muscle soreness" after a gruelling schedule of seven matches in less than a fortnight following almost a year-long layoff.

"The bandage is very big, but that's more just support so that the tape itself doesn't fall off," Barty said ahead of her third-round clash with 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova on Saturday.

"It's not a very subtle tape job. You often see it on a lot of the girls.

Pictured here, Ash Barty sports a heavily strapped left leg during her match.
Fans are concerned that Barty's left thigh issue is worse than she's letting on. Pic: Getty

"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."

Barty said she first felt the niggle while warming up for Tuesday's first round.

"But, yeah, obviously it's not affecting the way that I can play in any way," she said.

"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."

with AAP

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