John McEnroe isn’t proud of Ash Barty.
The American tennis icon says the Aussie’s determination to hold up the racquet and stroll away “damage the game”.
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Barty was on prime of the world having received Wimbledon in 2021 after which the Australian Open in 2022, solely to drop the bomb that she was calling time on her tennis profession.
The Aussie seemed like an unstoppable pressure and like she may have reigned supreme for years to return.
However McEnroe says her determination to retire has robbed followers of what may have been an unbelievable rivalry for the ladies’s sport.
Because the 26-year-old walked away, Polish star Iga Swiatek has taken the mantle of the perfect ladies’s participant on this planet.
Swiatek, 21, dominated the tour in 2022 as she reeled off an unbelievable 37 match winning-streak.
The 2 nonetheless solely faced-off throughout the web from each other on two events, with Barty holding the 2-0 benefit. Each wins got here earlier than Swiatek actually took flight.
“I believe when Ash Barty retired that clearly despatched shockwaves as a result of here’s a younger lady at 25 that had come off successful Wimbledon, then successful the Australian Open and also you suppose ‘Okay she’s going to the US Open within the subsequent yr and it’s only a matter of time’,” McEnroe advised Eurosport.
“Clearly, I hope she’s comfortable, you by no means need to see somebody stroll away from it that younger as a result of then you definately’re like ‘what’s improper with the ladies’s sport that the No. 1 participant walked away from the sport aged 25’? We had that difficulty too as a result of my buddy and my rival Bjorn Borg walked away and by no means performed a significant after 25. It will damage me, and my profession, I imagine.”
The seven-time Grand Slam winners says with out having the rivalry with Barty, Swiatek’s profession could possibly be hampered.
“Simply not having that rival, I imagine it hurts the game,” he mentioned.
“And there’s causes that we are able to’t get into, there are loads of causes, there’s by no means one cause, and there’s nobody for Ash Barty both, however hopefully everybody will have a look at issues to make it possible for these ladies on the tour are being taken care of to the perfect of their potential so that they really feel as comfy as potential doing their factor.”
The 21-year-old who has three Grand Slam titles to her title enters the Australian Open because the purple scorching favorite so as to add to her already spectacular trophy cupboard.
McEnroe says she’s comfortably the participant to beat, however has warned her about overloading her calendar.
“I believe proper now she’s by far and away the perfect participant, she’s a unbelievable athlete, I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen a younger lady get slide into the corners, it jogs my memory of Novak fairly a bit,” he added.
“So I might be stunned if she didn’t win a pair extra French Opens at the least, and he or she’s discovered to play on arduous courts so there’s no query that she’s the favorite in each event she performs. She’s bought to watch out along with her schedule, I don’t suppose she’ll go on 37-match successful streaks as a lot as a result of now clearly individuals are going to be gunning for her extra, however I’ll be very stunned if she doesn’t win a bunch extra majors.”
McEnroe received’t be in Aussie followers ears this season after he wasn’t delivered to Australia by his employer ESPN.
He has been a daily within the commentary sales space and facilitator of on-court interviews however received’t be on Australian screens.
Nevertheless, two-time Australian Open winner Jim Courier will return.
He’ll be a part of Todd Woodbridge, Lleyton Hewitt, Jelena Dokic, Dylan Alcott, Casey Dellacqua, Sam Smith, Alicia Molik, Mark Philippoussis, Darren Cahill and Peter Psaltis within the commentary sales space.