Annabel Croft on why Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek could have been outstanding rivalry

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Annabel Croft on why Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek could have been outstanding rivalry

Annabel Croft thinks it is disappointing that tennis fans didn't get a chance to see an Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek rivalry. Barty, a former three-time Grand Slam champion, announced a shock retirement from tennis at 25 in March.

At the time of her retirement, Barty was the top-ranked player in the world and she also won the Australian Open in January. With that being said, Barty was clearly still in her prime when she retired from the game. Barty's retirement came at the same time when Swiatek elevated her game to a completely new level and become the most dominant player in the game.

Croft feels the women's game would have benefited a lot from a Barty and Swiatek rivalry as she feels it would have been "a real cat-and-mouse rivalry." “That would have been a great rivalry. It would have been a real cat-and-mouse rivalry.

It might well have developed into one of the great rivalries and that’s something we have lacked in women’s tennis for quite some time. You would have very different skills, but both very talented and headstrong characters going up against each other.

I guess we will never know (who would come out on top," Croft told Tennis365.

Croft disappointed tennis didn't get a Barty-Swiatek rivalry

After winning the Australian Open, Barty didn't play any events in February. The expectation was that Barty would return to action in March and play in Indian Wells and Miami.

After withdrawing from those events, Barty announced a shock retirement from tennis just days before the start of Miami. “It was just extraordinary, what a way to retire. She had won everything she wanted to win and for those of us covering the sport, we were devastated and sad.

We all enjoyed watching her brand of tennis and her style, that creative artistry," Croft said of Barty's retirement. Meanwhile, Barty and Swiatek did play against each other as the Australian beat the Pole twice - in Madrid last year and in Adelaide earlier this year.

Annabel Croft Ashleigh Barty Iga Swiatek