Ash Barty cops extraordinary snub ahead of French Open tilt

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Ash Barty, pictured here in action at the Madrid Open.
Ash Barty in action at the Madrid Open. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Iga Swiatek has been installed as the favourite to win the 2021 French Open crown, with 2019 champion and World No.1 Ash Barty relegated to second.

A number of betting agencies have defending champion Swiatek as the $3.75 favourite heading into the clay-court grand slam starting on May 30.

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Barty is second-favourite at $6, while Aryna Sabalenka is paying $9.

The Australian appeared to be the red-hot favourite to reproduce her 2019 heroics at Roland Garros until an arm injury forced her to retire hurt during her quarter-final clash with Coco Gauff at the Italian Open.

Swiatek then made the most of the World No.1's withdrawal to win the title before sending a warning to her French Open rivals.

The Polish teenager said she won't be satisfied with simply winning one grand slam trophy after claiming her first WTA 1000 title in Rome.

The 19-year-old demolished World No.9 Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 in just 45 minutes in the Rome final.

She was relatively unknown a year ago before winning her first career title at the 2020 French Open.

"I'm surprising myself actually when I'm not doing well because I'm pretty ambitious," she said.

"There are many players that regress after winning their first grand slam.

"I always though try to be different. I'm a perfectionist."

Swiatek has now won three career titles, following her Roland Garros triumph with titles in Adelaide in January and now Rome.

She has since moved into the world's top 10 for the first time.

Iga Swiatek, pictured here after winning the Italian Open final.
Iga Swiatek poses with the winner's trophy after the Italian Open final. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Ash Barty confident of full fitness for French Open

As for Barty, she said she was confident she'd be "good to go" when she sets out to win at Roland Garros as she did in 2019.

"It's disappointing no doubt but it was important that I listened to my body and gave it time to rest and recover and make sure that in a couple of weeks time I'm 100% fit for Roland Garros," Barty said of her arm injury.

"It became worse while we were playing. The challenging thing is to make the decision to stop. It's the thing that I hate the most, not being able to finish a tennis match. It's not in my makeup, not what I like to do.

"But the pain was becoming too severe, so it was important to try and do the right thing."

Iga Swiatek and Ash Barty, pictured here after winning the French Open titles in 2020 and 2019.
Iga Swiatek won the French Open in 2020 after Ash Barty did so in 2019. Image: Getty

She said the muscular problem was a pre-existing injury which began when she was 15 or 16 and was something she'd had to manage over her career.

She added that "it just pops up every now and again" and that hitting tennis balls made heavier on a damp day had certainly not helped.

Barty owns a tour-best record of 27-5 this year and has won four titles.

She's advanced to the quarter-finals in seven of the eight tournaments she's played in 2021.

She had a 16-match winning streak on the red clay before losing to Sabalenka in the Madrid Open final earlier this month.

The 25-year-old decided to skip the French Open in 2020, staying home for the majority of the year due to the coronavirus crisis.

with agencies

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