Ash Barty is taking nothing for granted

 - Alex Sharp

The world No.1 respects the history and the heritage of tennis, which is entrenched at Wimbledon.

Ashleigh Barty Wimbledon 2021©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

World No.1 Ash Barty is taking nothing for granted at SW19.

Back on the grounds a decade on from winning the junior title, the Australian is determined to make the most of her first chance to compete on grass courts in two years. Especially the immaculate lawns of the All England Club. 

“For me grass court tennis is where it is at. I wish we could play the whole year on it. It’s a traditional surface, I just love it,” stated the top seed, drawn against world No.64 Katerina Siniakova in the third round. “It felt like a long time, two years. But I’ve certainly enjoyed being back out here.”

On Thursday the 2019 Roland-Garros champion wasn’t quite as smooth and imposing on court as per usual, but dup deep with her extensive variety, slicing and dicing to navigate 6-4, 6-3 past world No.89 Anna Blinkova.

There were a few moments of magic from the world No.1, including a last-ditch forehand lob from behind the baseline, clipped over her opponent for the decisive break at 3-3 in the second set. A rifling backhand down the line enabled Barty to evade four break points in the next game. It was scrappy for the 25-year-old’s exemplary standards, but she found the answers.

“Yeah, tough one. That's half the battle in sport, is being able to find a way when it's not feeling all that great. I felt like when my back was against the wall today, I was able to bring the good stuff. It just wasn't quite there all the time,” continued Barty, landing only 53 per cent first serves and winning just 40 per cent of points after he second delivery. 

“Not my best serving day. But that happens as well. I felt like I was just out of rhythm a little bit. A few technical things weren't quite feeling spot on.

“But you have those days where you feel like you're eight-foot-tall and can't miss the box. Other days you feel like you're three-foot-nothing, just getting over the net is a bit of a battle. We just go back to work. Certainly nothing that will concern me over a longer period.”

The Queenslander, attempting to pass her Wimbledon best of reaching the fourth round in 2019, isn’t one for looking too far ahead or to overreact if a performance isn’t at the peak of her powers. 

“I'm exactly where I am, and that's all I can ask. There's no kind of percentage of how I'm playing. It's just trying to find a way each and every day, each and every match,” continued the top seed. 

“I feel good. I'm looking forward to another challenge of playing Katerina. It's a tough one. It's different challenges each and every opponent. All I can do is prepare for that opponent as best I can and see what happens.”

Ashleigh Barty Wimbledon 2021©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Only No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka and 2020 Roland-Garros winner Iga Swiatek remain in the draw alongside Barty from the WTA Top 10, with some calls suggesting the draw is opening up for the Australian.

Not for Barty, it’s tunnel vision. 

“That's not something that I can control. I think speculating now is a waste of time,” insisted the 25-year-old. “It's certainly not something that I'm going to do, is be looking at the draw. I never have, I never will.”