World No.1 Ash Barty gave an evasive on-court interview after clearly struggling with a leg injury covered by a large bandage.
Australia’s world No.1 Ash Barty has played down a leg injury despite wearing a large bandage on her left thigh in her 6-1 7-6 (9-7) win over compatriot Daria Gavrilova, despite appearing hampered in her movement late in the match.
Barty at one stage slammed her racquet into the bandage in frustration after losing a point and didn’t move as smoothly across the baseline as we’ve become accustomed during her climb to the summit of world tennis.
The world No.1 twice served for the match after cruising to a 5-2 lead in the second set but tightened up and was visibly frustrated as she opened the door for Gavrilova to force a decider.
In the end it was Barty’s big moment experience that got her over the line in the tiebreak, with Gavrilova unable to capitalise on two set points before an unforced error sealed her fate.
Asked about her fitness by Nine’s Casey Dellacqua in the post-match interview, Barty was adamant her leg injury was nothing to be concerned about.
“Yeah, it’s good, this isn’t very subtle is it?” Barty acknowledged.
“It’s actually a very small tape job we just wrap it to make sure it stays on. I can’t really hide it but I’m fit as a fiddle, I’m good to go.
“It’s nice to have some matches and general soreness is good, this one’s just not super subtle.”
In commentary for Nine, Sam Smith wasn’t so sure, hypothesising that Barty had strapped her leg as a precaution but that the injury had got worse during the match against Gavrilova.
Jelana Dokic agreed, although she was optimistic that the injury was not serious enough to significantly hamper Barty’s Australian Open campaign.
“Let’s hope the leg will be alright and it’s nothing too serious,” Dokic said.
“Sometimes certain things can happen in a match but she does have two days to recover and for Ash I think she’ll just be glad that she got through that, it was a very tense match.
“There were a lot of nerves out there and tension and in the end she was able to finish off in two sets and I think she’ll be glad with that.”
While Barty moves into the third round, Gavrilova was devastated to miss out on her opportunity after pushing her friend to the brink in the second set.
The 26-year-old played some good tennis in her first Grand Slam back after a horror run with injury but she couldn’t contain her emotions as she left the court, bringing a towel to her face to hide her tears.
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