On Thursday, world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty was forced to withdraw from the 2021 French Open due to injury.
During her second-round match on Court Philippe-Chatrier against Magda Linette, the 2019 champion was clearly struggling with her movement, losing the opening set 6-1.
Barty, who was wearing strapping on her left thigh, left the court for a medical timeout before retiring with the score tied at 2-2 midway through the second set.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Barty told reporters afterwards. “We have had such a brilliant clay court season, and to kind of get a little bit unlucky with timing more than anything to have something kind of acute happen over the weekend and just kind of run out of time against the clock is disappointing. It won’t take away the brilliant three months that we have had, as much as it hurts right now”.
“We did everything, absolutely everything we could to give myself a chance. It was a small miracle that we were able to get on court for that first round.”
Despite needing treatment on her left hip, the Australian arrived at Roland Garros with the injury and managed to get through her first-round match on Tuesday. She later admitted that she was “not quite 100 percent” afterward.
Barty’s serve seemed hampered early on, and after saving three early break points to tie the score at 1-1, she lost five straight games to lose the first set in 36 minutes.
She received treatment off the court but was unable to continue, walking to the net after the fourth game of the second set and shaking hands with Linette.
“I just tried to give myself a chance, tried to give myself a chance and see how it felt,” Barty said. “Obviously practicing, we’ve had our restrictions and essentially tried to stay as fresh as possible and not aggravate it in any way, but in a match that’s unavoidable at times.”
“It got worse today and it was becoming at the stage where it was unsafe. As hard as it is, it … had to be done. Right from the first game, I was battling the pain, and it just became too severe.”
Linette, ranked 45th in the world, will face Tunisian Ons Jabeur in the third round in Paris for the first time since 2017.