Former three-time Grand Slam champion Ashleigh Barty admitted she was "intimidated" when she first clashed Serena Williams. In 2014, a 17-year-old Barty suffered a 6-2 6-1 loss to Williams in the Australian Open first round.
It took four years before Barty and Williams clashed again as Williams recovered from a set down to beat Barty 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the 2018 French Open second round. Barty and Williams were scheduled to clash in the Yara Valley Classic semifinal in 2021 January but Williams pulled out from their Melbourne match.
Barty announced a shock retirement from tennis in March, while Williams is set to retire at the US Open. Now, Barty admits she would have loved to have challenged herself one last time versus Williams.
Barty: I would have loved to play Williams one last time
“The first [time] I was a very young girl who was intimidated,” Barty told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The second time I thought I had a chance and I did. But the way that she plays and her greatness was too good for me. I would have loved to have challenged myself one last time. That’s my competitive spirit, and me learning from the experiences that I had.
Not many people on this planet get to say that they played Serena and I’m one of those few people that really got to experience her when she was at her best. And I think that was really exciting. It’s a memory and an experience that I’ll never forget and learnt a lot from”.
In 2017, Williams and her husband welcomed their first child. In a piece published for Vogue, Williams revealed she and her husband are hoping to welcome a second child in the near future. “I know she voiced her excitement about trying to extend her family and to have another child. Hopefully that all goes well for her and she can do that happily and safely, and be healthy," Barty added.