"I hate the most is not being able to finish a tennis match...but the pain was becoming too severe, so it was important that I listen to my body..." the WTA's no. 1 player, Ashleigh Barty commented. She had to bag out of her first meeting match with 17-year-old Coco Gauff due to an arm injury.
She had won the opening set 6-4 and led 2-1 in the 2nd. She had a furious, tennis match with Gauff and then got into her groove with winning strategies. A medical timeout was necessary and a compression sleeve remedy wasn't good enough.
Barty's chronic arm ailment has been a nuisance to her much of her career as she acquired it in her mid teens. But it hasn't stopped the top women player from earning 11 singles and 11 doubles titles. The weather conditions in Rome were disasterous with damp, cold drizzles at some point, then steadier rains at others.
This caused a stoppage of some matches and unfortunate continuous of others. But by not trying to finish the Italian quarterfinal, Barty and her team hoped that this would give her time to rest her ailing arm and be prepared to play the French Open with good results in a few weeks."
...We have a Grand Slam in two weeks' time..." Barty had commented to the Reuters.com media and the timespan has the Australian concerned if that will be enough for her to rest and re-group. Despite Barty playing not quite her healthy self, she managed to down Coco Gauff and dismantle her game under an hour's time of the opening set.
Pushing herself, the Australian knew it may cause further injury to her arm and sadly knew it was a 'no go' to continue no matter if she was winning the match or not. It was the first meeting for Barty and Gauff and was even more significant to Gauff who's working furiously on elevating her game and ranking.
She was quite shocked when Barty let her know she had to stop playing. "It's not a good feeling to win this way," Gauff sadly said as she didn't really earn the quarterfinal spot win by defeating the Australian.
"..Hopefully she can get well before the French Open," the 17-year-old murmured softly. It's not something that Gauff wants to see repeated on winning by a default or retirement from any opponent. As for Ashleigh Barty, she is also hoping for the best since she felt totally out of her element to leave a match before it's finished.
She remembers her joy and feelings of accomplishment at winning the 2019 French Open and strives to re-activate that performance this year.