Ashleigh Barty will come to Wimbledon 2021 as the top-seeded player and will be given the privilege to open the Centre Court for the Ladies Singles. The World No. 1 from Australia has only won 1 Grand Slam so far which came at the 2019 French Open and will be aiming for her 2nd Grand Slam and 1st Wimbledon title.
Barty had to retire mid-match during the French Open 2021 due to an injury and decided not to play in any of the Grass tournaments before the Grand Slam. Barty has already clinched 3 titles which include the 2021 Miami Open and will be raring to improve on her Wimbledon record as she is yet to make it past the 4th round which she achieved in the 2019 Wimbledon.
Barty will be the 1st women to play on the Centre Court this year
As per the tradition, the defending champion is the first one to play on the Centre Court, but Simona Halep who was the 2019 Wimbledon champion withdrawing from this year’s Wimbledon Championships minutes before the draws were announced, Barty will start the proceedings this year at SW-19.
“Incredibly special. I think it’s an opportunity very few people get to experience. Of course I wished Simona was here to experience that. She’s earned the right to open the Centre Court on Tuesday as the defending Women’s Champion, but I’m extremely excited and humbled to have the privilege and the honour.” said Barty about being the 1st to step on the Centre Court.
“I think when you walk through these gates of the All-England Club, you’re instantly filled with gratitude. I think it was a tournament that was sorely missed last year on the calendar and a sore miss for lots of players for not having the opportunity to come here to the All-England Club.
“I think every time you walk through these gates, it’s a feeling you can’t take for granted and genuinely, I think it’s excitement that everyone’s able to play on these beautiful courts again and it’s exciting for me personally to have the another opportunity to learn more about these courts to learn and experience more of what this beautiful place can offer.” added Barty about the feeling of playing at Wimbledon.
Barty to pay tribute to mentor and Australian great Evonne Cawley this year
“I hope I can go out there on a really special occasion for Australian tennis with Evonne’s 50th anniversary. I think it’s going to be a really special moment and one that I’m certainly looking forward to.
Evonne’s has guided the way, she’s created a path for all of us, as Australians but as a family and for our heritage to know that there’s an opportunity to chase after your dreams and to do what you love and she’s created a legacy like no other Australian.” said Barty about her mentor and Australian great Evonne Goolagon Cawley who won her 1st Wimbledon title 50 years ago in 1971.
“I’m exceptionally proud to call her a friend and a mentor and to be able to share heritage and for me to be able to pay tribute to that on a really special anniversary is something I’ll never forget.” added Barty who will be donning a dress inspired by Cawley’s iconic Wimbledon dress.
Ashleigh Barty talks about her preparations ahead of Wimbledon 2021
With Barty having to retire in the 3rd round of the 2021 Italian Open and then in the 2nd round of the French Open 2021, her participation became doubtful due to consecutive mid-match retirements for the World No. 1.
“It was a bit of a slow start I think. Straight after Paris, obviously there was still some time and we needed to digest what was going on. We needed to get a full diagnosis and we were able to do that. Now I feel like I’m fit and I’m ready to play and I’m excited and to have an opportunity to again play main draw here at Wimbledon.” said Barty about her preparations.
Answering a twisted question about the difference in men’s and women’s tennis where Novak Djokovic is being dubbed as the favourite for the title as he is the World No. 1 but Barty has not been declared so, Barty smartly replied. “I’m Ash Barty, I’m myself and that’s all I need to be. There are 128 players in both draws, both capable of winning this tournament and rankings, favouritism, whatever’s written is completely irrelevant.
It’s not something I’m focused on in the smallest, so for me I’m just trying to be the best that I can do to prepare for myself and it’s an opportunity for me again to grow as a person and experience something incredible as a tennis player and I certainly don’t need to be anyone but myself. I’m comfortable as myself and I’m proud of what I do every single day and that’s all I can ask.” concluded Barty.