Barty, Osaka practice in Paris

Wilson Blade 9

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty and world No.2 Naomi Osaka are practicing for the 2021 French Open which starts on May 30.

The 25-year-old Barty won the tournament in 2019, but the Australian skipped her title defense last year because of COVID-19 travel complications. Now she’s finally back hitting on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

A lot has changed since Barty lifted the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup. If we disregard the pandemic circumstances, the biggest new experience is the roof over Chatrier, so her practice on Monday had a distinct echo compared to the last time she played there.

When it comes to the claycourt season leading up to Roland Garros, Barty won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in both singles and doubles, before a runner-up finish at the Madrid Open a week later. Barty’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia campaign was cut short in the quarterfinals, as she felt intense pain in her arm, so she retired while leading Coco Gauff 6-4 2-1 in order to have enough time to recover and be 100% ready for Paris.

Before the injury setback in Rome, Barty had compiled a 13-2 win-loss record this claycourt season, which included victories over Top 20 players Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova.

When it comes to clothing, Barty will debut Fila’s Celestial Point collection in Paris.

Naomi Osaka has played just three matches on clay this season, two of which were losses. Even though clay is her least favorite surface and she fell twice during her Tuesday’s practice, the Japanese is in good mood in Paris.

Osaka has just revealed her new Nike designs ‚ÄĒ the black-and-white Nike Naomi Dress and the Air Zoom GP Turbo Naomi Osaka sneaker with tie-dye pattern and Swarovski crystals.


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