World number one Ashleigh Barty has revealed she’s not at full fitness as she bids to win her second French Open title.
The Australian beat Bernarda Pera yesterday to progress to round two, but was pushed all the way by the Croatian-American player.
Speaking afterwards, Barty said: “Over the weekend, we had a bit of a flare-up through my left hip, which obviously needed a bit of help today and a bit of assistance to release it off as best I could.
“Today was all about going out there and giving myself a chance, and enjoying every minute, and I was able to do that today.”
The 25-year-old admitted that while she is struggling with this injury to some extent, it’s just another obstacle for her to fight through.
“Every match I play, every different experience against an opponent or physical challenge, you learn to overcome it,” the 2019 Roland-Garros champion stressed.
“That was a massive part [of her first-round win], accepting that I’m absolutely not 100 percent [fit], but certainly good enough to go out there and do the best that I can and give myself a chance to win matches.”
Barty entered this year’s competition as one of the main contenders, having won the Stuttgart Open and reached the final in Madrid.
However, this is not the first injury concern she’s had in recent weeks. Indeed, the Aussie star was forced to retire in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open against Coco Gauff, citing an arm problem as the issue that time around.
Although Barty stressed that her withdrawal was only precautionary, it did impact her preparation heading into the tournament this year.
Next up for the world number one is Poland’s Magda Linette. How fit the defending champion will be for the game remains to be seen, but she’ll nonetheless enter the game as the clear favourite.