Ash Barty cops brutal Olympics snub in favour of Naomi Osaka

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Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, pictured here in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
Naomi Osaka has been predicted to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics ahead of Ash Barty. Image: Getty

Naomi Osaka has been installed as the favourite to win gold in the tennis event at the Tokyo Olympics, with World No.1 Ash Barty relegated to silver.

Despite Barty being the top seed and having won her second grand slam at Wimbledon this month, global technology firm 'Gracenote' has predicted Osaka to win gold.

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Osaka hasn't played since withdrawing after the first round at the French Open in June, with the Japanese star taking a break from the tour for mental health reasons.

She subsequently skipped Wimbledon, watching on from home as Barty became the first Australian woman in 41 years to win the title at the All England Club.

But Gracenote - a global entertainment and technology company - has tipped Osaka to claim gold in Tokyo in front of her home fans.

Gracenote releases its predictions for every gold medal winner in the lead-up to every Olympics, and did so again this week.

According to News Corp, Osaka is predicted to win the gold medal on her home court against Barty in the final.

While Osaka hasn't played for over a month and struggled on clay in her most recent events, her record on hard courts (which will be used in Tokyo) speaks for itself.

Ash Barty, pictured here at Narita international airport for the Tokyo Olympics.
Ash Barty arrives at Narita international airport for the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

The World No.2 has won all four of her grand slam titles on hard courts - two at the Australian Open and two at the US Open.

According to News Corp, Gracenote is predicting Australia to win 14 gold medals in Tokyo - which would double the total of eight won in Rio in 2016.

Gracenote has USA topping the medal tally with 40 gold, followed by China (33), Japan (26), Russia (21) and Australia and the Netherlands on 16.

They are predicting Australia's 16 gold medals to come from Logan Martin (BMX), Jessica Fox (C1 and K1 canoe slalom), the rowing women’s fours, Matthew Wearns (sailing), James Willett and Laetisha Scanlan (mixed team trap shooting), Sally Fitzgibbons (surfing), Kaylee McKeown (100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley), Emma McKeon (100m freestyle), Ariarne Titmus (200m freestyle), the women’s 4x100m freestyle team, the mixed 4x100m freestyle team, Elijah Winnington (400m freestyle), and Cate Campbell (50m freestyle).

Ash Barty not staying in Olympic village

Meanwhile, it was revealed on Tuesday that Barty will be based outside the athletes village during the Games.

Fresh from beating Karolina Pliskova in the Wimbledon final, Barty touched down in Japan for her first Olympics.

The World No.1 is among Australia's leading medal contenders in Tokyo - with Simona Halep, Serena Williams, Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber and Coco Gauff absent for a range of reasons.

Numerous Olympians from around the world have chosen a different base for this and previous Games.

The US men's basketball team famously stayed on a cruise ship for Rio 2016.

But the spectre of Covid-19 and associated biosecurity protocols have added a degree of complexity to such arrangements for Tokyo.

"Ash is staying elsewhere," Australia's chef de mission Ian Chesterman told reporters.

"We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it's just what works best for them.

"Something I've always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.

"In terms of her performance plan, it's best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that."

with AAP

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