Aussie World No.1 Ash Barty has showered praise on rival and colleague Barbora Strycova after her shock retirement announcement.
Barty extended her incredible winning streak to storm into the semi-finals at the Madrid Open, but not before a strange incident in which she lost a ball in the sun.
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But following her victory at the Madrid Open against Petra Kvitova 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 - in a compelling one hour 48 minutes tussle - Barty stopped to shower praise on Strycova.
Strycova announced on Tuesday she was retiring from tennis.
The Czech star announced she was pregnant on March 26th and has now announced her retirement from the sport.
"Dear fans...or I should say friends," Strycova she wrote.
"As you might have heard, I announced my retirement from professional tennis today. It feels weird. Until now, tennis was the only world I knew.
"I have always had enormous love for this amazing sport. Even though all the pain, tears, renunciation and sweat, all the great moment and victories were worth it!"
Barty's kind words after Strycova news
But Barty took time after her victory to praise Strycova on an incredible career and her kind spirit in the locker room.
"Hell of a chick," she wrote.
"Seriously, it made me smile when I saw that she announced she's pregnant. I think it's an incredible new chapter for her.
"Hell of a person, someone who was always bright, bubbly, wore her heart on her sleeve on the court, but was probably one of the most respected in the locker room."
Barty went on to praise Strycova's sportsmanship throughout her career.
"Genuinely put herself out on the court in a way where you know she never left anything out there, but would also look you in the eye, shake your hand, say 'Well done' or 'too good.'"
Barty's lovely words follow her classy gesture after her victory over defending French Open champ Iga Swiatek at the Madrid Open.
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