Aussie tennis great Rennae Stubbs has fired back at a "ridiculous" accusation against Ash Barty in her first-round win at the French Open.
The World No.1 endured a dramatic, injury-hit return to the scene of her greatest triumph at Roland Garros on Tuesday, needing a medical timeout for a hip problem in her 6-4 3-6 6-2 win over Bernarda Pera.
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Barty seemed to cruise through the first set before calling a medical timeout when she lost the second.
The trainer worked on her lower back, left hip and the top of her heavily-strapped left leg as she lay on the court.
But, once back up again, Barty rediscovered her best tennis just when it was needed.
The Aussie star saved two break points at 1-1 in the decider but after negotiating that minefield game, her superior all-court game finally began to tell as she reeled off the final four games to claim victory after two hours.
Barty's remarkable fightback was widely praised by fans, however some accused the Aussie star of faking injury in an attempt to break Pera's momentum.
“Don’t be ridiculous!!!" Stubbs fired back at one Twitter user.
"There is one thing I can assure you, Ash Barty is FAR from a faker. She would NEVER disrespect an opponent in faking an injury."
She then fired back at another, saying: “@ashbarty IS SOO far away from doing anything like this as gamesmanship!!!!
"There is no one in the game as good a sport than Ash. So take your stupid and shove it somewhere it doesn’t shine. OK!”
Ash Barty's worrying admission about French Open injury
Back on Court Philippe Chatrier for the first time since winning the title in 2019, Barty - who decided not to defend her title in pandemic-hit 2020 - told the small crowd that she'd managed to prevail because "I just keep fighting."
That battle will now have to go on for a fortnight if she's to grab back her title as the top seed revealed how the injury to her left hip, which flared up over the weekend, was going to make surviving the tournament difficult.
"It's going to be a little bit tough this week," said Barty, somehow summoning up a smile.
"(The injury) just needed some (timeout) today to try to release it off as best I could.
"We were able to fight through, able to give ourselves a chance to play again the next round.
"A massive part of today was accepting the fact that, yes, I may not be absolutely 100 per cent but I'm certainly good enough to go out there and fight and do the best I can and give myself a chance to win matches.
"I'm not going to hide behind the fact I'm not quite 100 per cent - but I can guarantee I'll go out there with the right attitude every day and give it a crack no matter what."
Barty had pulled out of the Italian Open earlier this month with an old recurring arm injury, but there was no sign of that as she booked a second round clash with Poland's Magda Linette.
"I was able to build up a bit more pressure in that third set but Bernarda played an incredible match," said Barty.
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