Australia's Ashleigh Barty during a photo opportunity before Day 1 of the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Sunday, January 19, 2020. (AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Michael Klein)
Australia's Ashleigh Barty during a photo opportunity before Day 1 of the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Sunday, January 19, 2020. (AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Michael Klein)

BEHIND THE DESK: Is Ash Barty overhyped?

BARTY’S REIGN JUST BEGINNING

Mitchell Keenan

ASH BARTY- what a player.

The 23-year old is the first Australian woman to be the number one seed at the Australian Open’s 115-year history.

Is it farfetched to compare her to players like Roger Federer? Maybe.

But you can’t blame Lleyton Hewitt for talking up our best female tennis prospect in a long time, possible ever.

2019 was a long and arduous year for Barty and she was hit with a tidal wave of pressure after winning her first Grand Slam in France.

You can’t blame us really. Our first world number one ranked tennis player since Hewitt himself back in 2003 and our first female player to top the charts since Margaret Court in 1973.

But the calm and composed pocket-rocket has been phenomenal over the last few months with wins at the WTA Finals and Adelaide Invitational to go with a plethora of finals appearances.

Women’s tennis has certainly been lacking a dominant figure since Serena Williams’ four year reign at the top ended in 2015, with four different number one’s in the last five years but it’s time for that to change.

Barty is number one for a reason and this year I believe she will find the form that will keep her on top for some time.

The Australian Open is the perfect platform for her to make the leap from superstar to world-beater in the realm of women’s tennis.

FEDERER COMPARISON HYPE

Jarrard Potter

NO DOUBT about it, Ash Barty is a very talented player, and Australian tennis’ best hope of having a homegrown winner of the Australian Open in a long time.

However I feel like Lleyton Hewitt may be getting a bit ahead of himself in his comparison of Barty to one of the all-time greats in the history of tennis, Roger Federer.

Sure, Barty has a lot of talent and promise, and could very well be a tennis player worthy of mention in the same breath as Federer when her career is finished.

At this stage though, it’s a comparison that’s lacking in substance, not to mention grand slam titles.

World rankings in women’s tennis of late has been like a carousel, with a successive series of world number ones taking the mantle only to see them fall and another world champion rise.

While it’s Ash Barty at the top of the tree currently, I think the only women’s tennis player that can legitimately earn a comparison to Federer and his dominance over the sport is American Serena Williams.

Williams is currently ranked ninth in the world, but has been there or thereabouts in grand slam finals for two decades.

Until Barty can display that level of dominance in the sport, comparisons to Federer are a bit disproportionate to the results, but I hope the comparison is deserved one day.



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