'No longer the icon': Ash Barty at centre of brutal tennis snub

Ash Barty and Serena Williams. Image: Getty

Ash Barty has seemingly copped a massive snub from former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, who says women’s tennis is lacking a young superstar to take over from Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Barty is the current World No.1 after winning the French Open and WTA Finals in 2019, yet she doesn’t seem to register on Pennetta’s radar.

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In an interview with La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, Pennetta couldn’t pinpoint a player who would be the next big superstar in women’s tennis.

The Italian pointed to the current stocks in men’s tennis but bemoaned the lack of depth in the women’s game.

“In the men, there is Federer, Nadal and Djokovic who have created an incredible history of tennis in the last 15 years,” she said.

“But behind them there are already solid and consistent young people.

“In the women, there is no longer the icon, the one that ‘sells’ tickets.

“Serena Williams is still there, but she too is starting to struggle. Sharapova retired and was an icon, even off the court.

“On one hand, every tournament is fun because almost anyone can win, but this makes us think because before the top 10 were one notch, or rather two, above the others.”

Naomi Osaka could also feel slighted by Pennetta’s comments.

The Japanese player recently dethroned Serena as the richest female athlete in the world on the back of her two grand slam titles at the US Open in 2018 and Australian Open in 2019.

Flavia Pennetta says women's tennis is lacking a star to take over from Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

US Open planning in the works

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Masters could be moved to Flushing Meadows this year as part of a double-header with the US Open under a new plan proposed by American tennis chiefs.

The plan is designed to help the tournaments, two of the biggest annual tennis events in North America, move forward safely after the coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on the professional sports calendar.

Both tournaments have previously said they plan to move forward as scheduled, with Cincinnati set to run until August 23 and the US Open's main draw beginning on August. 31.

The US Tennis Association (USTA) plan would see both competitions played in New York's Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre back to back, according to a New York Times report, in order to minimise travel and risk for players and participants.

The men's and women's tours have reportedly been notified of the proposal.

The tennis world has slowly begun to resume action, with fans absent from stands.

World No.12 Petra Kvitova claimed victory in the women's draw at an all-Czech tournament in Prague on Thursday, in a slot on the calendar that was originally occupied by the French Open

French Open officials rescheduled the clay court grand slam to begin on September 20, the week after the US Open was set to kick off, prompting frustration from many in the tennis world.

with AAP