'Rattled': Ash Barty's huge admission about Naomi Osaka

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·Sports Reporter
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Ash Barty (pictured left) has admitted the tennis world debate over who was the rightful World No.1 between her and Naomi Osaka (pictured right) gave her a point to prove. (Getty Images)
Ash Barty (pictured left) has admitted the tennis world debate over who was the rightful World No.1 between her and Naomi Osaka (pictured right) gave her a point to prove. (Getty Images)

Ash Barty has admitted the constant doubt surrounding her World No.1 position leading into the 2021 season 'rattled' her as she faced off with Naomi Osaka for the title.

Barty, who announced her engagement with long-time partner Garry Kissick, has been atop of the WTA rankings for 109 consecutive weeks.

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However, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic many fans questioned her position after her break from the game.

Barty enjoyed a brilliant 2019, which involved winning her maiden grand slam title at the French Open.

However, 2020 brought with it unprecedented challenges as she remained in Australia as the pandemic halted world sport.

As the tour reset, Barty opted to remain home as the WTA introduced a 'frozen rankings' system to help players unable to travel.

Osaka won the 2020 US Open and the 2021 Australian Open, which had many tennis fans questioning how Barty was still the World No.1

But, the Australian put the argument to bed for the remainder of the season as she won five titles including Wimbledon.

h Barty (pictured) looks dejected during a tennis match.
Ash Barty (pictured) admitted the battle for World No.1 with Naomi Osaka affected her. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

And after calling time on the 2021 season after spending consecutive months away from home, Barty has made the candid admission she became 'rattled' when murmurs echoed around whether she was a worthy World No.1.

"When we arrived in Miami in late March, I felt people were questioning whether I was the rightful No.1 given Naomi Osaka had won a couple of Grand Slams in succession,” Barty told Aussie site CodeSports.

“It was probably the first time I felt a little rattled and I really wanted to make a statement on the court.

“Getting through that tournament – and playing so well at the end of it to defend my crown from 2019 – felt like a pivotal moment, particularly after overcoming a match point in my first round match against qualifier Kristina Kucova.”

Barty admitted it was that moment she had the determination to hold on to that No.1 ranking.

"I thought, ‘You know what? Someone is going to have to be really, really good to take this off me,'" she added.

Ash Barty's remarkable 2021 season

Barty spent months on Tour away from home after admitting leaving her family and being in tears knowing it would be unlikely to come home due to the strict quarantine rules.

Yet, the World No.1 managed to win in Miami, Stuttgart, Madrid, at Wimbledon and Cincinnati.

This also included withdrawing from the French Open due to injury, which she was one of the strong favourites heading into Paris.

Ash Barty (pictured) smiles and poses with the Wimbledon trophy.
Ash Barty (pictured) poses with the Wimbledon trophy. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Barty admitted in the interview with CodeSports she was "shattered" after withdrawing from the French Open, but put all her efforts into winning Wimbledon.

After opting out of the WTA Finals, after months on the road, Barty said she is about to start her preparations for the Australian Open next year.

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