Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action. Picture: CHAZ NIELL/GETTY IMAGES
Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action. Picture: CHAZ NIELL/GETTY IMAGES

New York — World No 1 Ash Barty says she does not expect any tricks or gremlins on the US Open’s famed blue tennis courts after picking up five titles in 2021 in a marathon, globe-trotting effort.

The 25-year-old Australian said ahead of the tournament that starts on Monday that she did not even watch the US Open in 2020, preferring instead to enjoy her time at home after skipping the Major due to Covid-19 concerns during an 11-month absence from competition.

Now she is a favourite to win in Flushing Meadows despite never making it past the fourth round at the US Open since making her main draw debut in 2013.

“There aren’t any tricks or any gremlins in these courts,” she said. “We prepare as well as we can for our first round tactically against the opponent we’re going to play and we try to go out there and execute.”

Barty has mostly made it look easy, picking up her long dreamed of Wimbledon title in July and clinching the Western & Southern Open most recently, to boost her confidence.

Her biggest stumble came at the Tokyo Olympics, where she suffered a shock exit in the first round against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, succumbing to erratic and error-riddled play.

“What she’s doing, it’s unbelievable,” world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who defeated Barty in the Madrid Open final in May, said.

“It’s a goal for every player to be on the top for so long and be consistently there ... that’s something unbelievable. I’m impressed [with] what she’s doing.”

However remarkable her recent run, Barty insists her strategy hinges on a rather mundane approach, keeping it simple.

“It’s enjoying my tennis, going out there and playing with freedom. It’s being really clear with tactically how I want to play. Then it just comes down to execution.”



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